I got the polyphony bug when an undergraduate at Oxford in 1973. An ideal choral sound got fixed in my head at that time, and I've spent all the years since then trying to recapture it. Hence The Tallis Scholars. I haven't done much else of creative importance - no novels or films - just a lot of concerts and recordings, and endless travelling. This in turn has piqued an interest in exploring the cuisines of the world, and even some of the languages, though rarely the right ones. A thorough grasp of Latin would have been good; Arabic has proved of limited value as a tool for promoting Christian sacred music.
Other daft things I've done include: starting a choral foundation in Oxford's oldest and most beautiful college chapel; writing a column in the London Spectator on music for over 33 years, and on cricket for one; planning a choir trip to the Antarctic so that the penguins may get to hear some decent music (Chris Watson will be singing the opening solo in Walton's Set me as a seal); encouraging my fellow citizens to eat horse; learning to fly small aeroplanes; carrying rare foodstuffs (especially horse) around the world in my luggage, and visiting a restaurant near my house so often that I now have my own table there. The best thing I've done is marry Caroline Trevor and help to bring up three children who, to my lasting relief and delight, have grown into very civilised people.
"Speaking of birds, it was also wonderful to glimpse Peter Phillips’s conducting: hands opening as if setting free a dove, or closing to punctuate with dotting-the-i’s exactitude. I found myself wishing I could get a choir’s-eye view to witness Phillips’ complete – lifelong – inhabiting of this music."
The Observer, September 2015