I cannot imagine life without music. I have ABC Classic on most days. Music brings me joy. It inspires me. It takes my breath away with its beauty. It allows me to dream and to recollect special moments in my life. 

Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose. Photo courtesy of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

My first musical memory is coming home from school when we lived in the US and seeing my mother, Clare, at the piano. She often played Schumann or Brahms. It was such a lovely greeting. My mother had studied at the Sydney Conservatorium and used to play in quintets and quartets with friends from the Sydney Symphony. At one stage she was going out with the conductor Joseph Post, who was then with the Victorian Symphony Orchestra. One night Joe asked my father, Charles – he was working at the Sun News-­Pictorial and going to the concert – if he could look after Mum at the concert. They were married a few months later in 1937. 

My mother started teaching me piano when I was five. Later I had lessons with the highly regarded Gordon Short...