You were successful at a young age. Was that a huge boost, or was it ever a hindrance?

At the time, I thought it was a huge boost. It was only later on in life that you realise you miss out on a few things – ordinary things – because you’re travelling around at a very early age and life takes on a new dimension.

Michael CollinsMichael Collins. Photo © Ben Ealovega

Back in the 1980s, BBC Young Musician of the Year counted as mainstream news. Have those days gone forever?

They have. Isn’t that a shame? That competition was broadcast live on BBC One on a Saturday evening at 7pm. What do you get now? It’s either X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing or something like that [laughs]. This very competition has been put at 11pm on BBC Four, which is a channel most people don’t even have! Classical music has been pushed out of the window, so to speak.

I think if myself and other musicians stand up and shout and scream from the rafters, maybe we can make ourselves heard and things could change ever so slowly. The thing is, it’s been a...