The award-winning musician explains how he fell in love with his instrument and why he’s on a one-man mission to promote it.

You were born in Tehran. What made you choose to play the harpsichord of all things?

My father listened to lots of opera and lots of Beethoven. Prior to the Revolution he had played in rock bands, so there was also Pink Floyd, The Who, that sort of thing. I started playing piano when we moved to the United States but I remember vividly a time when I was nine and we had gone back to Iran for maybe a couple of months. My uncle gave me some cassettes to take back to the States. There was one cassette of Karl Richter playing some Bach harpsichord concertos. I probably played that cassette a thousand times because I broke it finally.

Did that music grab you immediately? And how exactly did it make you feel?

It was a gut reaction. I thought, “if anything is thiscomplex then it’s got to be worth someone’s time”. I was floored by just how complicated it sounded. But it isn’t an either/or for me between the harpsichord and the piano. It isn’t that...