THIS year’s Music at Paxton, one of the Scottish summer’s longest-established rural chamber music events, just over the border from Berwick, boasts a superb programme. It opens on Friday with pianist Alasdair Beatson and cellist Philip Higham, then includes Pascal and Ami Rogé playing the two piano version of the Rite of Spring, young award-winners the Maxwell Quartet and guitarist Sean Shibe, the Hebrides Ensemble, cellist Steven Isserlis and singers Hannah Rarity and Benjamin Appl, all in the space of ten days.

It is a fine farewell from the event’s artistic director Helen Jamieson, who has shaped it for over a decade. Previously Paxton House had hosted a weekend of music-making by pianist Gustav Fenyo and his friends and associates, and Jamieson had just left her job as a music officer with the Scottish Arts Council when she was approached to take over. As she says now, the step into the “real world”, having spent many years evaluating the quality, box office success and marketing skills of others was something she felt a need to try to do herself. “I knew how the scene worked, and I thought I should give it a go.”

Local talents including the Edinburgh Quartet, tenor Jamie MacDougall and the Scottish Flute Trio were joined during her tenure by international guests like pianist Cedric Tiberghien and violinist Alina Ibragimova. Extending the event over two weekends, Music at Paxton made the fullest possible use of the facilities at the house, reconfiguring the beautiful and intimate Picture Gallery, with its maximum capacity of 140 people, and adding less formal concerts in a marquee in the grounds, and factoring in the attractions of walks there and nearby, tours of the house itself, and dining in the stables café.

Having been a one-woman year-round operation since Jamieson came on board, with press and marketing support in the summer and local volunteers assisting front-of-house, Music at Paxton recruited a general manager to complement her programming skills in 2016, and Elizabeth Macdonald remains in post after her departure. That gave the organisation a clearer remit in its search for her successor, and the chosen candidate, Angus Smith, will be visiting Music at Paxton for the first time next weekend to meet the audience and begin the planning of his first event in 2019.

Smith is a well-connected appointment, and one likely to do Paxton’s reputation in the wider music world in the UK and further afield no harm whatsoever. Although he has never lived in Scotland, his father was from Dundee and he professes passionate support for the Scottish rugby team, which will go down well in the Borders. “I always feel a lifting of the spirits when I cross the Border,” he says, “and I was aware of Paxton as a wonderful series of concerts, so I was very quick to get an application off.”

A founding member of the Orlando Consort - which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year - who has always been involved in the administration of the group and has also added his tenor voice to many of the UK’s well-known professional chamber choirs, Smith now divides his time between touring internationally with the Orlandos and running Music in the Round at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre. With its own resident group in Ensemble 360 and baritone singer and composer Roderick Williams as current artist-in-residence, Music in the Round has a highly-regarded and very broad chamber music festival in May as well as a season of concerts throughout the year.

Although Smith is adamant that he is not interested in imposing his own choice of music on Paxton, and will be as receptive as he can be to the desires of the audience, he does see potential for his work in Yorkshire and Berwickshire to dovetail. It may have been joined by many other summer festivals of chamber music in Scotland since its beginnings, but Music at Paxton looks to be in safe hands.