Since 1976 he has been actively involved with the period instrument movement, including eleven years as principal viola with John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Until 1988 he was lecturer in music and director of the chamber orchestra at the University of York, and is the author of three studies of Shostakovich’s chamber music, as well as numerous articles and programme notes; he has also presented talks on BBC radio and at various festivals and concert venues throughout Britain and America. He has been tutor in viola at the Royal Northern College of Music, and a visiting lecturer/examiner at many colleges and universities both here and abroad. He is now conductor of the Academy of St. Olave's Chamber Orchestra and principal viola in Southern Sinfonia, as well as a lecturer with Martin Randall Travel. In 1981 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Music at Bucknell University, USA, and similarly honoured by the University of York in 2006.
He is a trustee of the registered charity Jessie’s Fund – a memorial to his daughter Jessica, who died of a brain tumour in 1994 – which helps sick children through the therapeutic power of music, and which the Fitzwilliam regularly supports in its concerts.
His viola was made in Cremona (Italy) c1740/41, possibly by one of the Guarneri family, and his other instruments include one made for him in 1995 by Roger Hansell.