In an excerpt from his book Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More, published in the March issue of Limelight, Stephen Hough wrote of his reaction on seeing an elderly man being wheeled into the concert hall where Hough was about to perform.

“My heart instantly lifted,” he wrote. “It struck me as wonderful that he was here to hear Beethoven and I was the one who this evening was to bring that music to life.”

I have lamented in Limelight before about the sea of silver heads in any classical concert audience, and the “need to attract the next generation and the one after that”. My focus in that piece was on finding ways to foster a love of the classics in young hearts and thus fund future performances. It was not my intention to detract from the merits of an ageing audience of music lovers. If I’m honest, I’m one of them (although one of the more junior, I hasten to add).

Margaret meeting Sir Andrew Davis (with banana). Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Quinn

Hough’s anecdote took me back to early December last year. My friend Margaret, a generation older than...