James Baillieu.
James Baillieu.
Image: Kaupo Kikkas

Musical icon? In the classical music world, my icon is Franz Schubert. I adore his music and I feel that he must have been an amazing person. His way of portraying emotion and sentiment through music is truly extraordinary. More contemporary icons would be Miriam Makeba, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra — these wonderful vocalists inspired my love of the human voice.

Essential grooming potions? I have sensitive skin which is quite allergic so was recommended the brand La Roche- Posay. It’s brilliant for SPF protection and moisturising. I also recently discovered an Australian brand called Hope’s Relief and they make a fantastic goat’s milk soap with organic shea butter and cocoa butter.

Favourite cologne? At the moment it is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, it’s a great summer cologne.

The building everyone should visit before they die? Last year, I had the honour of performing a private concert for the pope in Vatican City — the memory I will always take from that occasion was being alone in St Peter’s Basilica after the concert: an incredibly special building and a marvel of human endeavour and vision.

Essential tech? Google Maps! I have a terrible sense of direction, and I use it daily in different cities to find my way to and from the concert hall and the hotel. It’s also great for finding local restaurants.

My luxury item would definitely be my beautiful Steinway piano. I would relish the luxury of endless hours of practice on a desert island

Drink of choice? A smooth and supple pinot noir.

All-time favourite place to eat out? Gauthier Soho in London. It’s a gem of a restaurant and always has a very cosy atmosphere. The Italian truffle risotto is divine.

Item of clothing you bought, instantly loved, and still have in your wardrobe years later? An ultra-light down jacket from Uniqlo. It is waterproof, compact, and pocketable — perfect for easy travel!

Currently reading? You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr.

Listening to? I’m at the piano making music pretty much all day, so I tend not to listen to music once I have finished practising!

Book, album, and luxury item you’d take to a desert island? My luxury item would definitely be my beautiful Steinway piano. I would relish the luxury of endless hours of practice on a desert island. I therefore would ask for the complete works of Schubert as my book, and as my album the complete performances of Shakespeare’s plays. When can I go?!

Series you’ve been bingeing on? Killing Eve.

Are you a collector of anything? Brightly coloured socks.

What makes you happiest? Being at home for a few days. I travel a lot for work, which is wonderful and inspiring, but there is nothing better than getting home for a few days. I love getting back into a normal routine and doing simple things like laundry and washing up! Getting to sleep in your own bed is unalloyed pleasure.

Last travel destination that knocked your socks off? The Namibian desert — the vastness and majesty of the red sand dunes blew me away, and the stars in the evening were just incredible.

Dream dinner party guests (dead or alive)? David Attenborough, Gerald Moore, Franz Schubert and Alfred Hitchcock.

Next on your list of must-have items? My trusty Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which I have had for years, are on their last legs, so I have my eye on the newer version — their in-ear noise-cancelling headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend on flights and for when you just need to shut out the world for a bit.

A great in gift you were given recently? A large iPad which I use to perform from — I can store all my music on it, so the days of lugging heavy scores around are gone.

A place that recently caught your attention? I found the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC deeply moving. It’s a profound experience and also serves as a warning as to just how awful human nature can be. The whole world feels rather politically unsettled at the moment. A museum like this reminds us of the danger of not working together as nations and people.

Favourite city in the world? London. I’ve lived here for 14 years now, and although at times it can be stressful living in such a big city, I love the fact that I can go to a show or theatre any night of the week, swim in the ponds of Hampstead Heath in summer, go for long walks in some of the lovely parks, and enjoy the palpable history of a great city.

Indulgence you would never forgo? Cashmere jumpers in winter

From the October edition of Wanted 2019.

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