Alan Titchmarsh was born and brought up on the edge of Ilkley Moor. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice gardener in the local nursery, following this with full-time training at horticultural college and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
His own daytime show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, featured a combination of music, the arts and conversation, which ran for eight years and he presents his own radio show on Classic FM on Saturday mornings.
Alan is patron or president of over 40 Charities including The Esseham Music Charity. In recent correspondence he told us "I really do applaud what you are doing, and it is so practical to do it at a local level."
Alan lives in Hampshire, at the heart of our festival activities and the Isle of Wight, with his wife in an old farmhouse with a four acre garden.
Oboist, teacher and educator, George Caird enjoys a highly diverse life in music and the arts, holding leading positions in UK and European conservatoires and performing as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player.
Educated at the Royal Academy of Music, Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie Detmold and Peterhouse Cambridge, George developed his oboe playing career in London from 1972 as well as teaching at the Royal Academy of Music from 1984. In 1987, he became Head of Woodwind and Orchestral Studies at the RAM and subsequently was appointed as Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 1993, a post he held for seventeen years.
From 2011 to 2016, George was Director of Classical Music for Codarts, Rotterdam a post that involved working with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and De Doelen concert venue as well as close collaboration with the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In August 2017, he was appointed as interim Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.