I started playing the violin when I was 4. My parents gave me the choice of violin or cello. I changed to viola when I was 11.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
I can remember going to a kids' cushion concert with a local orchestra in Sydney when I was about 6 or 7 and being fascinated by all of the people, instruments, sounds, and how it all worked.
What gear do you use?
I have hand crafted, 18th century style instruments which were made for me by specialist craftsmen here in the Netherlands. I use Baroque and Classical bows by Kees van Hemert, and play on gut strings made by several historical string makers including Barocco, Aquila and Gamut.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
I think my biggest influence was listening to records and CDs from the various Baroque groups in Europe. I can especially remember being absolutely enraptured by the soundworld of the authentic instruments - so expressive, tangible, sensual, intellectual, earthy, spiritual, here and now and timeless all at the same time. And being also absolutely fascinated by the big booklets that came with the box set LPs of Leonhardt and Harnoncourt, with photos of all the original instruments, the people playing them and copies of the original music manuscripts of composers such as JS Bach. I thought, wow, that is exactly what I want to do when I grow up.
I can also remember being really electrified by the genuineness, craftsmanship, character, expression and artistry of recordings of bop and hard-bop jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
At high school I organised chamber groups and mini orchestras with lunchtime rehearsals, going to the conservatorium library to find music for the different combinations of instruments - from trio sonatas, string quartets, flute quartets and so forth - and then performing at school concerts. I played in several youth orchestras. When I left school, I played in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Opera House which was a big thrill - the first time was when I was 18.
When I moved to the Netherlands I played in the Amsterdam String Quartet, and was invited to performed with my own boyhood heroes (!) including Gustav Leonhardt and Frans Bruggen in orchestras such as the Orchestra of the 18th Century. Now I have my own original instrument orchestra which I created with my fantastically talented, younger generation, international colleagues, here in the Netherlands. We have our own concert series here in The Hague, perform at the major European music festivals such as the Bachfest Leipzig, and tour all over the world - in past years to Canada, America, Russia, Asia and Australia.
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
It would be between Bach, Stamitz and/or Abel.
What's the biggest audience you ever performed to? What's the smallest?
The biggest audience I have performed to was conducting a live concert performance in Amsterdam, broadcast live to more than 30 countries by the Dutch radio/European Broadcasting Union. The concert reached hundreds of thousands of people, all around the world, all at the same time. It was especially exciting because the programme featured 18th century symphonies which I had rediscovered, performed in Amsterdam's oldest concert hall, the "Felix Meritis", built in the late 18th century.
I have performed to sold out concert halls such as the Vredenburg (Utrecht) and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) (c. 1,500 people), but my biggest live audience was at Parkpop in The Hague: 200,000. My smallest audience has been 4.
One of my most memorable performances was conducting Corelli and Vivaldi in the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome (with the famous Bernini ceiling) for the Dutch Queen and Italian President and their guests, broadcast live on Italian TV and radio. Conducting Handel's Water Music at the Handel Festspiele in the composer's birth city was also very special. As were recent performances of the symphonies of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn here in Holland.
The most memorable concert which I have ever been to was Australian jazz trumpeter James Morrison performing with his band in Halle, Germany. Absolutely amazing.
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?