Failed attempts to learn the piano, drums, banjo and trombone convinced Graeme Warner to become an amateur musicologist, or at least an educated listener. Growing up in a household that avidly appreciated all forms of music, he obsessively purchased recordings and listened to them on his father’s state-of-the-art equipment.

After working for The Age (reporting from Canberra and writing editorials) Graeme landed a job with the United Nations in New York. He stayed 32 years. As a member of the Secretariat’s Public Information Department, he had access to prime seating for twice-yearly concerts in the General Assembly Hall featuring the world’s greatest classical artists.

He especially enjoyed hearing the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Rudolf Kempe conducting), the Leningrad Philharmonic (Gennady Rozhdestvensky), the Dresden State Orchestra (Herbert Blomstedt) and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Eugene Ormandy); and he recalls the 95-year-old Pablo Casals playing the cello at a 1971 concert, two years before his death. While living in New York, Graeme made the acquaintance of several leading classical musicians, and befriended, in particular, the cellist Janos Starker.

Graeme has prepared and presented several programs in the Illuminations series, and aspires to be a full-time presenter, but travel still lures him away all too often.