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David was born in Aachen, Germany, close to the borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, and started playing the violin aged four. Aged 17, at the height of his career, he left for New York, on the pretext of going to visit his brother, by then at Harvard. He was wrong at that point.’His father disowned him, which is why David had to pay his way by modelling for the likes of Armani and appearing in Vogue.His brother Alex, who is two years older, had already started playing, and whatever his brother had, David wanted too. He auditioned for Juilliard, the prestigious school of music, drama and dance. Was there no money left from all the years spent performing and recording?I’m not saying that I’m thinking of doing this for the next 30, 40 years, but it’s also the way this job works: you cannot sustain success on that kind of level if you say, “No, I’m only going to play 30 shows a year.”’Ah, his mother. I would not want a single day as a kid again because it was really not nice. I’ve had so much music in my life I want it to be quiet at home.A formidable, blonde American beauty, Dove Garrett (David took her maiden name, as his father’s surname, Bongartz, was deemed too foreign) was a ballet dancer who met her future husband, Georg, a lawyer, at a concert, when she came to Frankfurt to perform. But it did everything it needed to do in order for me to be where I am now.’If he hadn’t been a musician? I like working with figures.’ I’m not sure if he’s teasing. Here’s the thing, if they really want to do it I’m not going to stop them, but I’m not going to give them an instrument and say, “Now, go start practice”.’David was finally able to break free from his dad.But what are the demons that drive this virtuoso violinist?If this was my life – travelling from one city to the next, never seeing anything other than yet more corporate carpet – I’d keel over.I travel a lot so it makes sense to maintain myself, but there is a difference between maintaining a healthy situation and being vain.
To date he has sold 3.5 million albums, and his string of summer open-air shows in Germany is a sellout. ‘My choice was to play music, [it] wasn’t to practise so much, you know, the discipline. I’m OK with those troubled times because they ended up leading me to where I am right now. I learned late that adults are not nice people.’So who is his best friend now? It’s very isolated.’Do the orchestra members resent his stardom?He is the master of the ‘crossover’ performance: he is as likely to be found performing Coldplay to a stadium of 15,000 as he is to be in a concert hall, flanked by an orchestra.