Portrait video Gregor Horsch

VIDEO - Being part of a musical family, there is music in every room of his house. In our 'Portrait videos series': meet principal cellist Gregor Horsch!
Gregor Horsch during a rehearsal (photo: Renske Vrolijk/Concertgebouworkest).
Gregor Horsch during a rehearsal (photo: Renske Vrolijk/Concertgebouworkest).

Portrait video

'I just want to play. And I want to teach and listen, I want to occupy myself with music. That's the only thing. That's what interests me  you can wake me up for that.'

- Gregor Horsch, Solo Cellist

'I've been the principal cellist since 1997. Officially, it's called Principal Solo Cellist of the Concertgebouworkest. So almost 25 years - incredible.

The cello was my choice. Although not quite; I suspect my parents played a part in that because my oldest brother played the violin and my older brother the piano. So the cello was an obvious choice to make up a piano trio.

In the end, that piano trio never transpired because my brother quit playing the violin and took up the oboe. So at some point there was that wonderful Horsch Trio with oboe, piano and cello. I think we performed sometimes. I played the bass line - they were probably baroque sonatas. That's how it started.

The great thing about the cello is that you have a lot of different functions at the same time. You play the melody, you provide the rhythm, you are the harmony, the bass. All those sorts of things. At the same time, you can also stand out for a while. Sometimes together as a cello section: a section solo. Certain symphonies start with a lovely cello melody. Dvorák's Eighth, for instance. It's a famous melody, so it's great if you can play that with your colleagues.

I have the incredible luck and privilege to play a cello which has been playing for years in the Concertgebouworkest. After a few weeks and especially after a few months I really got to know the instrument. I wouldn't be able to do without it now. The instrument becomes your own voice, as it were. Literally every time when I tune it, there's always a moment of: how wonderful. Even when I just touch the strings, so it's very special, really.

My wife is a cellist. We met in Manchester when I was studying there. Our children are both professional musicians. Someone is always practicing here at home, sometimes it seems like a music school here. Fortunately, we have a summer house. So when everyone is playing inside, you can escape to this place. You can play here day and night, that's very nice.

I find the spot on the outside, at the edge of the stage, the best spot. Not just because of the acoustics in the hall but also because it's the easiest spot to make contact with my colleagues. You listen, but you can also see. You can literally see a harpist. When does the pizzicato begin? Or you have a lot of things together with the principal horn or with the timpani. Those are the colleagues I can keep an eye on. Also visually. That makes a big difference.

And the best thing, I have to mention this, is when we have a piano soloist. That soloist is playing literally for me. I'm looking into the piano. That's marvellous. I love the piano very much. Every time we play a piano concerto I think: Well, I've got the best seat in the house.'