What if James Bond’s favourite weapon had been a Stradivari violin instead of the Walther PPK? His life would likely have been as colourful as that of Desmond Cecil.
In his newly published memoir The Wandering Civil Servant of Stradivarius (Quartet Books), Desmond Cecil takes us on the fantastic journey that led him from Chemistry studies in Oxford and his encounter with Yehudi Menuhin, to moving to Switzerland to study the violin full-time with the illustrious Max Rostal, before returning to the UK to join HM Diplomatic Service in 1970.
A fluent linguist, Desmond spent the next twenty-five years serving in embassies all over the world. He went on to work as an international political and funding adviser first in the UK’s private sector and then for the French state nuclear energy industries. There he gained extensive experience of nuclear environmental clean-up in Russia after the dismantling of the Soviet Union. And he did all of this without compromising on his love for music and especially his beloved 1724 Strad.