From an early age, Donald Tovey received private musical instruction from some of the best teachers in Britain, including Hubert Parry – who taught him composition – and the famous violinist Joseph Joachim. By the 1890s he was composing and performing as a concert pianist; his recitals were challenging and his memory for musical scores was held to be phenomenal. In 1914, Tovey was appointed to the Reid chair of music at the University of Edinburgh. Here he became famous for his inspirational teaching and, above all, as an author of musicological notes and essays. Tovey, however, rated these activities well below his abilities as a composer and pianist. This painting – based on sketches made during a performance – shows Tovey seated at the piano, playing a Trio by his beloved Beethoven.