What inspired you to take up the French horn?
Seeing a poster of musical instruments and choosing the French horn as the most interesting looking, then being taken to a concert and feeling disgusted when the horn soloist emptied out his spit, informing my parents that I no longer wanted to play the horn, to be informed by them that they ‘had already paid for a term’s lessons and horn hire, so tough…’
Have you always wanted to play in an orchestra?
No. My main ambition as a teenager was to become the drummer in Dire Straits or Level 42.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The feeling at the end of the final rehearsal of the week, when you know the conductor can’t stop mid-piece again.
What are the challenges of playing the French horn?
There are none – it’s easy.
Name a musical personality living or dead you would most like to meet?
Leonard Bernstein, again!
Which piece of music do you enjoy playing?
Anything by Mahler – for me, nothing else really comes close.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Playing first horn in Das Rheingold with Scottish Opera in 1989.
Can you describe a typical concert day?
Up early, breakfast, one hour drive to Poole, three hour rehearsal, one hour drive home, one hour school run, help boys with homework/music practise, one hour drive to Poole, concert, one hour drive home, beer, bed.
Which piece of music would you take to a desert island?
Telegraph Road by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
What was your earliest musical experience?
When I was four, not being allowed to take my teddy into my first piano lesson.
What would you do if you weren’t a musician?
Drive the Hurst Castle ferry.
Does your family come to see you play in concerts?
They come and see us when we play Mahler and annually to the Henley Festival.
What’s your favourite place to eat for a pre-concert meal?
Generally, any pub close to the venue. Specifically, the restaurant in Ghent where I ate steak and chips prior to playing Beethoven 9. It went really well. Can only have been down to the quality of the meat!