Where were you born and brought up?
I was born in Shrewsbury and brought up in mid Wales.
What is your earliest musical memory?
My father was an amateur musician so I heard music from day one.
At what age did you start playing and why this particular instrument?
I started playing the oboe at the age of eleven. I just loved the sound.
Where and with whom did you study?
I started learning in school with a very fine teacher called Hilda Hunter. She was both encouraging and inspiring. From there I went on to the Royal Academy of Music.
When did you join the LPO?
How often do you practice?
Practising varies, depending on what I have to play. As an oboist I spend a lot of time making my own reeds.
What is the most joyous / difficult / frustrating / annoying thing about your instrument?
The oboe is a temperamental instrument and you are very dependent on the way the reed is working. When everything is going well it is a marvellous feeling. On the other hand ...
What is the worst thing that can happen during a performance?
The oboe player sits in the middle of the orchestra so in many ways he has the best seat in the house! If the conductor is lacking confidence this insecurity can pervade the orchestra. I have never known a performance to actually stop but there have been a few nasty wobbles.
Which musicians do you enjoy listening to?
String players and pianists are very lucky to have such a wide range of solo and chamber music. As an oboist the best repertoire is probably in the orchestra. I love listening to string quartets. They achieve the pinnacle of achievement.
Away from the concert platform, what pieces do you play for pleasure? What music do you listen to?
I play the piano a bit. I find it more relaxing than playing the oboe. It doesnt matter if its not very good. I like listening to jazz, particularly jazz pianists.
What are your interests outside music?
My family takes up a lot of my spare time. We try to spend as much time together as we can but, as my wife is a busy violinist, we have to juggle family responsibilities between us. I am also very interested in wine. Apart from the pleasure of drinking it, its a fascinating subject particularly as wine is produced in all the nice parts of the world.
What is your favourite book/film?
Book - The Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy. Film - Cinema Paradiso.
What is your most valued possession?
An oil painting of a landscape in North Wales. It has been passed down through the generations of my family and now its my turn to look after it.
What has been the highlight of your LPO career so far?
I always enjoy going to Vienna with the orchestra. The Musikverein is a wonderful hall and makes the orchestra sound really special.