Star violinist and surprise guest David Garrett wowed the close to 1,700 guests at the anniversary celebrations held in the new Schubert assembly hall on 1 July. It was the fulfilment of a long-held dream for Gerhard Schubert. Two successful personalities from completely different worlds – but our interview with David Garret reveals remarkably strong parallels.
David, you normally appear on the world’s great stages but today you’ll be playing in the Schubert production hall. Is this a challenge for you in terms of acoustics?
David Garrett: I’ve never placed that much importance on acoustics. Because I play an acoustic instrument, I actually hold all the acoustics in my own hands. It shouldn’t make any difference whether I play in a beautiful concert hall or a very dry acoustic space. The sound I produce with my hands is what counts. I like to practise in private in a dry acoustic environment, since it’s really perfect preparation for all kinds of stages. This hall might not be the type of concert hall that you prefer to have for classical events, but it’s perfect for tonight’s performance.
We’re celebrating 50 years of Schubert today. With his amazing creativity and strong innovative capabilities, Gerhard Schubert, whom you have just met, has had a powerful influence on the packaging machine manufacturing sector for 50 years. But there was also a time when he wanted to be a musician. You are both linked by a passion that you pursue with a pioneering spirit and a powerful gift for innovation. What drives you to keep on creating new work ranging between classical and cross-over?
David Garrett: Challenging yourself is what drives you on, especially if you’re never quite satisfied with yourself. It’s that constant quest for improvement, that constant question “Where could the journey still take me?” If you live your life intensely in the present, you see every day as a new building block, so to speak. You don’t think about what you did well yesterday, but rather what you can do better today. So the aspiration is to never be lazy or say that yesterday evening was good – because today is much more important than what happened yesterday.
This is something you and Gerhard Schubert have in common. He is someone who always wants to improve and he always says “Nothing is impossible.”
David Garrett: I don’t know if it’s exactly the same for Mr Schubert but, for me, getting there is never a problem. I visualise how something needs to work. Achieving it is another matter. It’s the idea that’s most important – the vision of how it has to end up. Knowing that this is what I want to achieve. How you get there happens on its own. And putting it into practice always requires team work, obviously. If you know what you want, you always get there in the end.
You are tonight’s special guest, and it’s been kept a secret. The main objective of the celebrations is to pay homage to all the employees who have made Schubert into a global market leader over the last 50 years. How does it feel to be playing here in Germany on this occasion?
David Garrett: I am obviously delighted to be invited here to play. I believe that with events like this one, it’s very important to include the team around you in your success and say thank you to them. I don’t do my job alone – I have lots of people supporting me. I hope the workforce really enjoys tonight.
We’re celebrating the next 50 years today – the next generation of the Schubert family has taken charge of the company. Are you also thinking of passing on your skills at some point?
David Garrett: I believe that passing a company on to the next generation is just as big a responsibility as leading it. You have to take the time to go into detail with someone. You can’t expect someone to get it all right away. The responsibility also lies in having patience and teaching someone what you have acquired over many years. That’s the hardest thing. That’s why I’m not doing it yet. The responsibility is too great. If were to teach now, for
example, I couldn’t do it one hundred per cent. And I want to do everything I do in my life one hundred per cent. Otherwise you shouldn’t even start.
How do you teach someone creativity?
David Garrett: Creativity comes from the person themselves. You can’t teach it. But you can lay the foundations, so that someone who really has talent and creativity can make use of that as a take-off point and go on to be creative. But you can’t really teach anyone how to be creative. The same with ambition. You need to have it in you – that restlessness that drives you on to keep doing something new.
Imagine it was your 50th stage anniversary – how would you celebrate? would you celebrate?
David Garrett: (Laughs) I don’t know. I’ve been performing for a long time – 20 years now. I’m more likely to be thinking: what’s happening tomorrow and the day after tomorrow? As you get older, I believe you learn to plan things and be happy with the results. And I’m definitely thinking that I might take things a bit slower in the next few years – maybe not always going full speed ahead all the time.
What are you wishing for the audience tonight?
David Garrett: Music is relaxation and a break from everyday life. And for me too, when I’m on stage. I forget everything that’s going on around me. For me, music is a holiday from life, pure emotion, feeling and encouraging others to feel. I always think it’s important to distract the audience a little. Music, theatre, a good book, sports – all the things people love – distract you from the tough things in life. And managing to transport the audience from their everyday lives just for a short time to enjoy the music – that’s the task I set myself – always moving on to something new. Nothing is a given in this life. And above all, everything that looks easy is always hard won. That’s something you should never forget.