It’s not just hard work, says the musician described as the Paganini of his instrument.

He’s been called a demonic wizard, a Paganini even, yet for many of us there’s no instrument less mysterious than the humble recorder. Like so many of us, the Swiss virtuoso Maurice Steger started out age six before giving it up in disgust. “I had no success,” he laments with a look of mock sadness as we catch up over lunch. It’s the morning after the night before, and by all accounts yesterday he brought the house down with a typically dazzling display in his opening concert with Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

It took  a few years of flirting with other instruments before Steger decided to embrace the recorder once more. “It took me a long time,” he admits. “I was absolutely not a wonder child or whatever. It took me very long, but there was a specific moment when I was 12 or 13 when I realised how wonderful it is and from that moment on it was clear to me, that’s my instrument.”

Born in 1971 in Winterthur, Switzerland, Steger has a ready smile and a cheeky flamboyance combined with...

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