He was an oboist born in London, England. His father, Archie, was a principal bassoonist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and his mother, Joyce, was a composer, pianist and cellist.
He moved around the South of England a lot in WWII and he contracted asthma as a result of double pneumonia. After the war the family returned to Highgate, London, where he began to study violin and piano and when his asthma became severe it was suggested he learn a wind instrument, of which he chose the oboe, as it would assist him in his breathing control.
He studied the oboe further at the Royal College of Music in London and while there he formed the Camden Wind Quintet with his brother, Kerry, and four other wind instrumentalists who included the flautist James Galway. After graduation he became Principal Oboe for the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra which he followed with the same position in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
In 1968 he became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and he would stay with them for twenty years both as Principal Oboe and Chairman of the Board. He was a co-founder of the London Virtuosi in 1972 with John Georgiadis and the ensemble became acclaimed with their international tours, appearances at music festivals and their many recordings.
In 1988 he left the LSO and moved to Australia as the Provost and Director of the Queensland Conservatium. Staying in the field of musical education he became Dean of Music at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
He was the among the most widely recorded oboists in the world with ten oboe concerti written for him, which he premiered. He died in Brisbane, Australia, from motor neurone disease in 2006 aged 67.
Here he is as the oboe soloist with the London Virtuosi on Tommaso Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto D Minor Op. 9 No. 2 – 2. Adagio..