Who or what inspired you to learn to play the piano?
Love him or hate him (and most studied pianists do have an opinion one way or the other), few could point to a more popular contemporary performer than the late Vladimir Horowitz. His penchant for taking wild liberties in interpretation were unknown to me at age eight when I first heard his rendition of Scarlatti's Sonata in E Major on the Live in Moscow cassette my parents owned. This performance was never considered one of his best, (he was in his 80's at the time), but something about his romanticized and imperfect rendition of this baroque classic stuck with with me permanently.
I don't just love him because he looks vaguely like my great uncle Victor or because he had terrible performance anxiety (a trait that we share.) I love him because he planted a seed in me that has allowed me to perform some of this music my own way, which is a very special gift indeed.