John McCabe came early to music. As a child he suffered repeated bouts of ill health and during absences from school took to reading and listening to records. The urge to compose manifested itself quickly, and by 11, he had written thirteen symphonies. Studies at Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music equipped him with the necessary techniques to pursue a double career as pianist and composer. It was as a pianist that he first made his name, especially in unfamiliar repertoire, whether Haydn sonatas, Hindemith, Bax or Rawsthorne (in recital and on disc), lecture recitals featuring Webern's 'Piano Variations', or national premieres of concertos by Delius and Corigliano. The entire planet serves as his stamping ground, and he is a frequent visitor to North America and Australia.