You’re an old hand at festivals as a player, but do you remember the first time you ever ran a festival?

Yes, I certainly do. It was 1995 and it was Fauré’s 150th anniversary. I thought, “Nobody’s doing anything about one of my favourite composers. If it was Mozart, if it was Schubert, everybody would be jumping all over it.” I was literally sat at my kitchen table doodling. If I could make up some concerts what might they be? Before I knew it, I’d got a sketch for 12 concerts and thought, “I’m just going to go for it.” So, I wrote to my great friend Trevor Green, who was then the Chief Exec or whatever of the BBC Phil in Manchester, and said, “Look, would you come in with me on four orchestral concerts but I’ll do the programming.” I mean, what a nerve! [laughs] I had a plan for eight chamber concerts as well, so I went and booked the halls and then thought, “Now I have to find the money.” Talk about nearly killing myself! It was an expensive operation but I had amazing artists. Yo-Yo Ma came and we did an all-French recital programme. Having...

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