When it came to picking instruments at school, for reasons that have never quite become apparent I chose . . . the bagpipes. I often quip that there’s a real advantage in playing an instrument that sounds the same when you’re a rank beginner as a top professional, but I’m not sure a performance from my primary school bagpipe choir would quite support that analysis. We did, though, give the whistling band a run for its money.

Toby Chadd

Toby Chad. Photo © Daniel Boud.

My father was a musicologist, and many a family holiday would be diverted to a French monastery with a remarkable manuscript collection. He was a specialist in medieval chant and polyphony, but his interests ranged widely: he curated a major Diaghilev exhibition in the late 1970s, and one of my dearest memories is singing Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at the top of our voices in the car when I was a teenager. He loved jazz, too. He died when I was 18, and I’m perhaps only beginning to realise how his musical open-mindedness has informed my own curiosity.

Music was part of...