A music scholar of the Kings School, Canterbury, he later read English at Oxford University before teaching in Canada and America. He is a professor of keyboard literature and performance at The Royal Academy of Music and is a visiting professor at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Chetham's School of Music, The Royal Northern school of Music and The Texas Conservatoire for Young Artists. He has given master-classes worldwide and appeared on television and radio in Canada, America, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He has been a jury member of over fifty International Piano Competitions where his colleagues have included Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jorge Bolet and Lazar Berman and he has chaired the jury of the Naumberg International Piano Competition in New York, The Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow and The International Terence Judd Award in London.
He has published extensively in all the major British papers(The Times, Telegraph, Observer etc) and in the Gramophone and has published a much praised biographical study of Liszt with a forward by Jorge Bolet. He has written over five hundred annotations for all the major and minor record labels(DG, EMl, Decca, Philips etc) and was instrumental in promoting the work of Terence Judd, Eileen Joyce, Noel Mewton-Wood and, more recently, Germaine Thyssen-Valentin writing extensively about their lives and bringing their work to public attention on CD. He has also published interviews with most of the world's great pianists (Horowitz, Rubinstein and Sir Clifford Curzon, to name but a few).
He has broadcast extensively for the BBC(including thirty contributions to 'Building a Library,' a lively discussion of all the current recordings of a particular work), ABC, CBC etc, is a member of The Critics Circle, was Corina Frada Pick Professor of Advanced Piano Studies at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and in 1999 gave a marathon thirty-two lectures and master-classes at the Mannes School of Music in New York before continuing as a guest professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He has made over fifty contributions to the most recent edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, holds five degrees in music and literature and was recently awarded an honorary ARAM at the Royal Academy of Music.
In 2015 he gave a series of lectures at the Tropea Music Festival in Calabria, Italy, and later joined the jury for the second time of Switzerland's International Geza Anda Competition, always among the most challenging of all competitions. He later lectured at Germany's Husum Schloss vor Husum Festival. In 2016 he will be a member of the Hong Kong International Piano Competition and the Premio Venezia in Italy. He has also been invited to the Todi Festival(Italy) to give lectures and master-classes.