Tasmin Little is in for a busy long weekend in the town she describes as her "second home". As artistic director of the Orchestra of the Swan's Spring Sounds festival, the violinist is returning to Stratford-upon-Avon and looking forward to meeting up with old contacts.
I begin our conversation by congratulating her on her recent marvellous performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto with the CBSO at Symphony Hall.
"Thank you," she replies. "We had four very good concerts, in Birmingham and on tour, but obviously Symphony Hall is such a wonderful place to play. I've never done a concert there which I haven't enjoyed and felt I've given my best."
Little is an artist who is extremely generous in making herself available for concerts, not only with world-renowned orchestras, but also with ones which aren't so well-known internationally. This weekend she is devoting herself to the Orchestra of the Swan.
"You can often be surprised where you find excellence,"she says, "and with OOTS, it's a young orchestra, and they are obviously growing in stature and growing in experience, and I'm happy to be a part of that, join with them, support them and encourage them to be an even better-known orchestra."
I remind her that her performance with OOTS earlier this season at a college in Redditch caused a real stir. "Excellent," she interjects.
In a town so close to Birmingham, but with people who don't like to venture into the big city, to have Tasmin Little playing there was quite something.
"Well, you may well have seen some of the publicity surrounding my latest project, which is "The Naked Violin", and this entire project centres around the mission, if you like, which I have, to make classical music as widely available and as widely enjoyed as it's possible to be.
"And a lot of that involves Mohammed coming to the mountain, because if people wouldn't expect to enjoy, or be able to fit in an amazing venue like Symphony Hall, because they might feel overwhelmed, or they don't have transport to get there, or any number of reasons why somebody might not go to a big concert hall, despite the obvious attractions, then I think it's the duty of performers to support the smaller venues, to reach out to the audience that feels they can come to these smaller venues.
"I've said throughout my career that music is for everybody, that any barriers that are there need to be consistently attacked and broken down. Now that obviously I'm enjoying a certain 'status', I hope, in the profession and so far as audiences are concerned, I feel hand-in-hand with that goes the responsibility to lead the way and to say to people that there are other venues where people can enjoy and appreciate music just as much as in major concert halls.
"That's not to say I would ever wish to not go these great concert halls - I adore playing in wonderful halls - but it's a very different experience to play in a small hall, and it actually can stretch you in a different way.
"If you only ever play in very large halls you're only ever using a certain kind of playing, the projection and all of the technical aspects that go hand-in-hand with a large space, and it's very, very good for a performer to remember how to scale down."
So 'The Naked Violin' is bringing results?
"It's extraordinary! I never could have predicted this incredible reaction globally. It really is amazing, with well over 250,000 visitors to my website since early January.
"My site is now ranked among the most visited in the world."
Tasmin giggles when I ask her how she allowed David Curtis, conductor of the Orchestra of the Swan, to persuade her to become artistic director of Spring Sounds.
"Well, there are various reasons why I was delighted to take this on. One of the major reasons is that Stratford is a second home to me.
"My mother is a Stratfordian, born there and for many, many years I went there to visit my grandparents (now sadly no longer with us). But I still have an uncle and an aunt who live in Stratford, and they have been connections with Stratford for my whole life.
"I love Stratford, and to put a festival on in a town that I've known for so many years, and a town that I love, there's every reason to say 'yes' to that.
"Plus the fact that I really enjoy putting together ideas for festivals.
"Again, it's about stretching a different part of me, and it's a different part of the creative process to think out how to shape a festival, and how, despite the financial constraints, to still create something which is fabulous.
"I also love being able to invite top musicians, people who are my friends, my colleagues, to come and perform, because I know that they will create at the festival a level of excellence that it should be."
Her own input to this festival is huge, including among other things the Samuel Barber Concerto, Finzi's Introit, Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending , and a new piece from Roxanna Panufnik, Spring for violin and orchestra.
"Absolutely, and it's all part of bringing to life ideas that may have been bubbling under the surface, and for ages I've wanted to ask Roxanna to write something for me, and I hadn't had the right opportunity.
"When David Curtis said 'we really, really like Roxanna's music', of course I jumped at the chance to have this newlycommissioned piece, and of course it's 'Spring Sounds' Festival, so she's doing Spring, and it's part of a wider concept that I want to do with her, that the Orchestra of the Swan also wants to do, that we will build four seasons, and I think the idea of having a new Four Seasons is a marvellous one as well, so I'm really excited about the piece."
This will be the third Four Seasons cycle for violin and orchestra, I observe, as, in addition to the Vivaldi, there is also the Astor Piazzolla Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.
"That's absolutely true, and that's also repertoire that I've performed. So that's another reason why I wanted to commission Roxanna, because I wanted to have three pieces that I could have in one concert.
"Literally a concert with all three Seasons which would be so different from each other."
We continue to chat, but then Tasmin Little has to go back to tasks of a more domestic nature: supervising the installation of a new central-heating boiler.
* The Orchestra of the Swan's "Spring Sounds" season, with artistic direction from Tasmin Little, begins at the Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, tomorrow (8pm), and runs with daytime and evening concerts until Monday. All details on 01789 207100.