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Sir John Drummond, former Director of the Promenade Concerts and Controller of BBC Radio 3, is widely known for his commitment to the arts of thetwentieth century, and for his outspoken views on people and institutions. Now for the first time he relates his career to his childhood and early years and reveals the origins of his unshakeable belief in the importance of the arts. It was one of John Birt’s associates at the BBC in the early 1990s, who, questioning whether Drummond’s opinions were worth listening to, called him ‘Tainted by Experience’. Drummond took up the accusation with alacrity, partly out of irony but also because it shows clearly one of the great problems of today, the refusal to accept that experience has any value.

Drummond’s views have not always endeared him to the authorities or to those with whom he worked, and Tainted by Experience charts his career and the personalities involved in vivid and often controversial detail. But through the positions he has held, he has also enjoyed the friendship and support of an extraordinary range of artists: musicians, writers, architects, choreographers, actors and directors, who also feature prominently in these highly entertaining and thought-provoking memoirs.


Sir John Drummond has been involved in the Arts for forty years, making radio and television programmes, writing for publications and sitting on councils and committees. He was Director of the Edinburgh International Festival for five years, and Director of the Promenade Concerts for ten seasons. In charge of arts programmes on BBC2 in the 1970s, he was later Controller…

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