The Australian Financial Review’s Political Editor is also a member of Canberra Choral Society’s alto naughty corner.

Shortly after the Iron Curtain fell in 1990, I travelled with my mother Pam to Prague. For her it was the culmination of a lifetime love affair with a city that had been both locked away, yet a powerful part of her passion for music. She sang Vltavato me as we stood on the Charles Bridge and later, nursing New Year’s Eve hangovers, we went in search of the villa where Mozart stayed while writing Don Giovanni(to test the myth that he wrote the overture in the carriage on the way to the theatre!).

My mother sang Vltavato me as we stood on the Charles Bridge in Prague

Both my parents are responsible for flooding my life with beautiful music. My father’s lifelong passion for Jussi Björling, Puccini and later Plácido Domingo determined the soundtrack of our Saturday afternoons. But it was with my mother that music became not just something you listened to but something that you experienced as a musician, and watched with an understanding of all the exultation and risks of...