Talk about a breath of fresh air. Half an hour on the phone with Rachel Podger is enough to lift the spirits of the most jaded of journalists. Queen of the baroque violin, festival founder and curator, recording artist par excellence and a devoted educationalist, she could be excused if she flagged for just a moment. As I catch her, she’s just driven across London with a car full of orchestral parts needed urgently for her acclaimed Brecon Baroque Festival, but despite juggling a workload that could sink the Titanic, she sparkles with enthusiasm like a glass of good Prosecco.

Rachel PodgerRachel Podger. Photo © Musica Viva

The good news for her fans down under, and the reason for my call, is that the violinist – whose website cheekily leads with an article proclaiming her to be “The Artful Podger” – is bringing not just her bubbly personality and immaculate bowing, but also the entire Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment back to Australia for a whirlwind national tour with Musica Viva.

Last heard on our shores in the late 1990s when she flew out with fellow Aussie Florilegium members Neal Peres Da...