My first experience of music was as a choirboy at Bath Abbey, and then at St Paul’s Cathedral. We sang daily as part of the age-old great Anglican choral music tradition. Surrounded by the music of Howells, Britten, Stanford, Parry, Mozart, Bach, Bruckner and Byrd, my ear grew accustomed to lush harmony (especially Howells) and serene melodies, which I tried to imitate on a practice room piano at weekends. Over the years, the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir commissioned many new works by British contemporary classical composers for the English Anthems CD series, including works by William Mathias, John Taverner and Francis Jackson and Francis Grier. Often, the composers would come in to talk to the choir about the pieces before they were recorded on to disc, which was particularly inspiring for a young composer.