David Cairns was chief music critic of the Sunday Times from 1983 to 1992, having earlier written for the Spectator, Evening Standard, Financial Times and New Statesman. From 1967 to 1972 he worked for the London branch of Phonogram, planning and carrying out large-scale recordings of Haydn, Mozart, Berlioz and Tippett. In 1991, in recognition of his services to French music, he was made Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Actively involved in music making, he was co-founder of the Chelsea Opera Group and is now conductor of the Thorington Players. His highly acclaimed two-volume Berlioz biography has won many major awards.