It is 11:15 at night by the time Piers Lane picks up the phone at his home in Putney, half-an-hour outside of central London. Apologising profusely for being a mere 15 minutes late, he explains that he’s been adjudicating at the Royal College of Music since 10am with only 15 spare minutes to grab a sandwich. “That’s 12 hours of listening to Schumann,” he remarks wryly. “It’s enough to send me to the looney bin just like him.”

Lane is one of Australia’s most successful exports, equally respected as a musician and a raconteur, and any fears he might be all Schumann-ed out are rapidly dispelled as he chatters away nine to the dozen. When pressed, he will admit to being a workaholic, even to being somewhat driven. “I like to work hard,” he says. “I feel like I’m not using life properly if I’m not busy.”


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