I was delighted to be asked to talk to the Oxford Centre of the ISM on 22 September and, thanks to Carolyn King’s brilliant organising, to see so many people there. Carolyn had the idea of holding this event in Mansfield College where in the 60’s and 70’s my father was Senior Tutor and subsequently Principal. After Paul Harris’ kind introduction and having played a favourite Telemann Fantasia (No 1 in A), I was able to tell everyone that the Seminar Room in which we were assembled was once part of my family’s garden, and that nearby my father used to enjoy playing croquet in the Principal’s garden, an area now taken up by the magnificent new Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.

My talk was, therefore, partly a trip down memory lane but this served to make the point that music in Oxford, always remarkable, has grown and grown to making the city a major centre for music and the arts. I also touched on my various ‘lives’ in conservatoires (Royal Academy of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Codarts Rotterdam and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) in celebrating the huge strides that music and music education have made in the past 50 years. Long may our conservatoires thrive!

50 years! It’s true that since those days of my first oboe lesson with Stella Cook in Taphouse’s Music Shop and subsequent lessons with Eric Ashcroft at Magdalen College School, I have been playing for 58 years! The years don’t make me any better, but I am thrilled that playing the oboe is still something that I so love. So, let me stop this post and see if I can play another Telemann Fantasia at all respectably.

Thank you Carolyn, thank you Paul and the ISM. It was so good to catch up with everyone there.

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Mansfield College, Oxford