The year was 1989 and the world was in a state of flux. Ayatollah Khomeini died, George Bush Snr succeeded Ronald Reagan as the 41st President of the United States and the Chinese government declared martial law in Beijing after students refused to budge from Tiananmen Square. The classical music industry came to terms with life after Herbert von Karajan. His death on 16 July 1989 marked the passing from the world of maestros to that of megastars.
Pundits had predicted a classical music boom, courtesy of the new digital sound carrier, the compact disc, but no one could foresee a world in which Three Tenors, glamorous violinists and Welsh mezzo-sopranos would dominate the pop charts. And then there was Nigel Kennedy, a pupil of the Yehudi Menuhin School whose star was about to rise.