Ahead of her Australian dates, the German violinist talks music, Mendelssohn and staying up late with Ivry Gitlis.

You are the daughter of musical parents (a singer and a pianist). What did you learn growing up in a house full of music?

Music was always around as long as I remember in my childhood. My father used to coach singers and very often friends came to our house to play chamber music. It was completely natural to be surrounded by music and luckily I never had the feeling that it was hard work to learn playing the violin – even though, of course, there were also times when I did not want to practice so much.

For Sydney you are playing Mendelssohn – how do you approach a work that has been so often played and recorded?

I think, as a musician, it is most important to stay authentic and honest about what one feels inside and to express these emotions through the music. Even when I sometimes play the same piece every night on a long tour, it is every time something different. I can prepare as much as I can but in the end, when I am on stage,...