Versatile British clarinettist Julian Bliss talks to Limelightabout jazz, Messiaen and why he wants to try his hand at Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, ahead of performances at the Australian Festival of Chamber Musicin Townsville, with Camerata in Brisbane and Toowoomba, and in Parramatta in Canberra with NZTrio.

You were performing as a concerto soloist – and in front of royalty – when you were a teenager. What were some of the challenges of achieving such success so young?

I was always trying to improve my craft and have always wanted to be able to do everything straight away. It was in the early 2000s that I first realised that it takes many years to get to where you want to be. It was a challenge not to allow myself to get frustrated when something technical wasn’t exactly how I wanted it. Days, months and years of hard graft is the only way to improve and it is a constant journey. There are still many aspects of my playing that I’m trying to improve and hone.

Who are some of the musicians who have inspired you?

Sabine Meyer is very much up there. I really think she transformed the way I play....