Peter Medhurst travels the world as musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. His Music & Art in Secret Venice tours with Tom Abbott earlier this year were so successful that he is repeating them in 2015.
Your Name: Peter Medhurst
Size of group: max 24 per tour
Number of tours per year: 2 to 3
Where are you going in 2015?: Venice, 3 times!
Favourite destination: Venice – I can’t keep away!
Memorable moment: Giving private organ recitals to group members in the ‘Vivaldi’ churches of Venice.
What have been the holiday highlights in recent years?: Delft, Vienna, Venice.
Delft was where the 17th century painter Vermeer spent his entire life, and by staying in the heart of the town, it is possible to immerse travellers in the feel and atmosphere of the world Vermeer knew so well, even if the town doesn't possess a single work by him. The local churches, art galleries and museums all help to build up the background to this great artist, and one of the key things as a musician that I am able to do for the travellers is give recitals in the Delft churches of 17th century Dutch organ music.
Similarly, apart from its amazing art galleries, Vienna throws up Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven connections, and allows me give live performances of the music we would discuss and consider while we are there. Recently, on a 5 day trip to Vienna I gave two recitals on the twin organs that are in the centrally located St Peter's Church.
Probably my favourite of all locations is Venice, because it is the city where Monteverdi and Vivaldi - among others - produced their greatest works. For me, a highlight of any tour I take to Venice is the chance to play the period organs in three of the so-called Vivaldi churches, which premiered so many of his compositions.
Most enjoyable thing about organising tours: Noticing when travellers respond enthusiastically to specially planned moments on the itinerary. So, I always enjoy arranging visits - and usually private ones - to lesser frequented locations and collections that illuminate a particular angle on our theme for the week, and I delight in the responses of the travellers when they realise that they have seen something out of the ordinary that they would not necessarily have arranged for themselves.
Least enjoyable thing: Temperamental audio/visual equipment in introductory lectures at hotel meeting rooms.
Top tip: One thing I have learnt over the years is that less is more. For example, when visiting an art gallery, go to it for a purpose and home in on a selection of highlights, rather than trying to cover everything. Having brought the visitor's attention to these, allow them time to go and explore other things for themselves. It then makes a good balance between a concentrated look with the group at a few works, and a broader scan of the galleries under their own steam.
Any thoughts on Tailored Travel’s service? Over the years, I have enjoyed a very good working relationship with Tailored Travel and have always found its staff keen to make all of my tours run efficiently, smoothly and - above all - professionally. Any problems that may have arisen during the planning stages of itineraries have been dealt with easily and quickly, and the best possible solutions found. I look forward to many more years of touring with Tailored Travel.