Classical music has been very important to me throughout my life. It started with my closest school friend taking me to hear Bartok's Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta at the Festival Hall, was encouraged by an enlightened aunt who gave me the Readers Digest 12-LP set of "classical greats" and was cemented when a university girl friend gave me Berlioz' Harold in Italy as a birthday present.
Of course I have, like many music lovers, developed from symphonies and concerti to chamber music and then to opera. My genes might have been partly responsible for my son's first career as a classical trombonist (it's him in the picture), but I can only credit luck with providing a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law who are (or were) also classical players.
My taste is catholic: I have in the past had crushes on Haydn and Walton, but I would now have to admit (displaying a sad lack of originality) that Mahler tops my list of symphonists and Elgar's cello concerto never fails to move me.
A love of classical music does not preclude appreciation of many other genres. Apart from The Beatles (who rose to prominence while I was an undergraduate) I came to popular music rather late in life. I now listen (mainly in the car) to The Eagles, 10cc, Pink Floyd and even Dire Straights and Abba - all of which you might think I should have grown out of in my thirties! The problem with songs (in English - Italian opera is not the same) is that you cannot do anything else while they are playing. Or at least nothing which requires thought, such as writing or reading. The only activities I have found which are conducive to listening to songs are ironing, decorating and driving - and I try to do as little as possible of all three!