Early music has always been present in my life. My parents were not musicians, but they always loved to listen, as proves their collection of recordings, which revolves around 17th- and 18th-century music.
I started playing violin at the age of 4. Perhaps if I had been given a baroque violin, things would have turned out differently. As it happens, I mostly thought it was very uncomfortable. I clearly remember my mother trying to coerce me into practicing, while all I did was rush to our upright piano, trying to teach myself how the two lines of music fit together, and how they related to the black and white keyboard. I also had a cassette that I'd listen to every night before going to bed: Igor Kipnis’ Harpsichord Greatest Hits. Somehow, its violin equivalent didn’t hold the same appeal for me.
As a 9-year-old, my parents brought my sisters and I to Europe for a two-month road trip, aboard an old VW Westfalia we rented upon arriving in Amsterdam. That summer, I discovered European culture at its best, got myself a nice French accent (or so I was told), and stumbled upon the most wonderful place I could have dreamed of, the exhibition hall of the Bruges Harpsichord Competition.
The huge room was filled to the brim with harpsichords of all sorts, all painted differently, with one, two, and even three keyboards! The room was mostly empty of people; it must have been during one of the competitions at the nearby hall. I was free to run around and press on all the keys I wanted, but I was also a bit jealous of my older sister. At the time, she had been studying harpsichord, and was lucky enough to have actual pieces to play on the instruments. As a result, and after much nagging on my part, my parents allowed me to switch from violin to the harpsichord the following year, and I never looked back.