You come from a family of clarinettists, so what made you learn cello at the age of 10?

I started piano when I was four. Basically the cello was located under the piano so that was the next instrument I chose. The clarinet was lying on the piano, so that was the third that I chose. It was natural, and very close for me as a kid to grab and try whatever was there.

Andreas Ottensamer, Clarinet Andreas Ottensamer. Photo © Stefan Höderath

What made you switch to clarinet?

There was a time when I was doing all three, but then comes natural selection where you say okay, there’s just so much time I have in a day and I can’t dedicate it to all of them. You go with what probably gives most fun to you as a teenager. If you want a sophisticated answer, it’s probably the instrument that allows you to express yourself in the most natural, most comfortable way. So, choose whichever you want [laughs].

You went to Harvard. What did you study there and why did you quit?

Well, technically, I’m still deferring [laughs]. I was always interested in multiple things and...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.