Everyone who loves music can understand how much impact the right instrument has on one's own playing. It influences the sound, can limit the possibilities of expression, but above all it can inspire.
On the verge of to a professional career, it was clear that the violin I had at the time would no longer be qualitatively sufficient for a professional career. I talked about this with teachers, friends and acquaintances, and even before I had actively begun my own search, two violins found their way to me: an Amati and a Cuypers.
Shortly after I played Lalo's Symphony Espagnole on the Amati in a Berlin living room; the situation was bizarre:
On the one hand I knew the prominent name of the violin maker well, knew how valuable and old the instrument was, and in which prominent ownership it had been previously. On the other hand, I had just turned 18 and had - to speak quite honestly - no idea.
What should I look for? What to look out for? How should I best try out the instrument
and with which works? What qualities should the instrument have, what sound characteristics? In short: how could I test an instrument in order to determine whether it would suit me?
Even with all these questions in my head - my gut feeling said "no". I can not describe why and maybe it would be different today, but at that time the feeling towards the instrument was inconsistent.
The other instrument that came to me was a violin by the Dutch violin maker Johannes Cuypers from the year 1785. It may sound strange to outsiders, but at that time this instrument had such a sublime aura on me that I hardly dared to touch it. It was as if the instrument was saying to me: "Great violinists have played the most difficult works on me. I have been made to sing in countless concert halls, and I am used to only the best. Can you do me justice?"
I was sure that I could! Because besides the respect I had for Cuypers, it also felt fantastic when I tried it out. And this feeling remained - after a few weeks and also over the years we kept growing together. I would compare it to to a close friendship: when you get to know a person, you do not immediately see everything, you do not know all their secrets. But you can quickly tell whether you feel comfortable and connected with someone or not. The Cuypers violin has become a reliable friend who challenges and inspires me every day.