IF, as Jan Patience suggests a couple of pages on from here, all roads in the visual arts world currently lead to Dundee, Ayrshire has recently been setting the direction in music, even if you had to go Perth, Edinburgh or Glasgow – the City Halls this very evening in fact – to hear it.

Nicola Benedetti, who hails from West Kilbride in North Ayrshire, has been busy reinventing the chamber music recital as an interactive experience. Often such an aim would involve contemporary composition – a piece like Pilgrim of Curiosity, commissioned by Enterprise Music Scotland for Athenaeum Winds from composer Oliver Searle springs to mind. The violinist, however, is passionately engaging her audience with music from the 19th century, specifically the three violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms, which she introduces individually and at length with the background to their composition, the story of her own relationship with the works and some observations on their structure, before performing them with pianist Alexei Grynyuk. To play the works together at all is a big undertaking – and the Perth Festival concert was the first time the duo had done so in public – but to go to such additional effort to make it as easy as possible for the audience to accompany the musicians on the journey shows exceptional commitment. It was also hugely appreciated, as many ticket-holders took the trouble to let me know at the interval and at the end of the concert. Benedetti, meanwhile, took particular care to thank the youngest musicians in the hall for their rapt attention. Encouraged by the festival’s policy of admitting schoolchildren to many events for £10, there were a great many of them. If the droll style of Grynyuk in the question and answer session at the end provided the best chuckles of the evening, the first came as Benedetti gamely tried to allude to speculation about the exact nature of Brahms’s relationship with Robert Schumann’s widow, Clara, in a room that contained primary school-aged ears.

Being a role-model as well as a hard-working musician is something that Benedetti appears preternaturally relaxed with, but the skills she has been displaying, beyond virtuosity on her instrument, are now part of the curriculum for all students of music. If one of the attributes of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland that attracts applicants to an institution that now boasts of ranking in the top three in the world is the opportunity to work across genres and disciplines, another is the commitment to preparing them for the realities of pursuing their careers. That includes acquiring the presentation skills Benedetti demonstrated this past week, and dealing with people like me as well as informing the audience each time they perform.

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As she was on stage at the Queen’s Hall the same evening, Benedetti was not at the launch of Cumnock Tryst, of which she is patron, on Tuesday, although she had provided encouraging words for Sir James MacMillan to add to proceedings. The weekend festival the composer has established in his birthplace – and, increasingly, nearby villages – is another aspect of the same commitment to access. I don’t think Sir Jimmy will be offended if I say that one of the incremental measures of the Tryst’s development over four years has been his own steadily more relaxed presence as spokesperson as well as programmer of the event. While not yet quite in the Benedetti class of charisma, MacMillan is an altogether more laid-back master of ceremonies than he was when the Tryst was but a twinkle in his eye, his manner somehow mirroring what he hopes the Tryst can achieve.

Remembering how access to music had set himself on the path to international success as child, MacMillan has made the Tryst a model of inclusiveness, with Drake Music Scotland annually involved alongside local schools, a new community choir in the Festival Chorus given the best of chorus-masters and repertoire, and local brass and traditional music enthusiasms having their place alongside the contemporary classical world from which the composer comes, and whose younger local representatives are also guaranteed a showcase. Michael Murray and Jay Capperauld are thus included in programmes that also finds room for Dave Maric, Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen as well as MacMillan himself – and a number of free tickets for under-16s are available with every full price ticket purchased.

That’s what a couple of Ayrshire folk have been up to this week, and it sets a standard for other parts of the nation to aspire to, I reckon.