I actually started playing the piano before the violin. I loved the purity of sound that one could get from a violin. With piano, there is a sort of distance, but with a violin it’s very close to the body – it’s an extension of oneself.
Your first concert was at the Edinburgh Festival, and you’ve since played all over the world. Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed?
Taiwan was one of the most interesting. It’s obviously a different culture and a different atmosphere; there’s a wonderful sort of feel about the place. It was a totally new experience, especially playing classical music where it’s never really performed. The response was just fantastic; so warm and loving. I also liked China. I played in the more remote areas – not Shanghai or Beijing, but in little-known places. It’s great playing for people who are not so accustomed to classical music.
Have you performed in Dubai before?
No, it’s my first visit. I can’t wait – it should be great fun.
Definitely! A week ago I was playing Indian raga. It’s not contemporary, but it’s a different genre of music. In Sweden this year we worked with salsa musicians and a bongo player. We were playing Bach in a salsa style and people were dancing to it. That was great fun. It all moves the soul.
You’ve been based all over the world, but where do you call home and why?
I feel at home everywhere. I feel at peace with myself, not specifically any place. My physical base is Sweden, although I don’t feel the need to have a home – I feel very much at home wherever I am. It’s often more to do with the people I’m with. The physical location is less important.
You’ve achieved so much at such a young age: playing NYC’s Carnegie Hall, lecturing on music-related subjects across the world… What do you see as being your biggest achievement to date?
I think my biggest achievement is arriving somewhere. The process is the most important thing. I don’t look back nd think: oh that was an achievement. I live in the present.
Hugo plays Ductac at Mall of the Emirates on September 5. Tickets are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open 7.50pm, show starts 8pm. www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).