Milos Karadaglic champions new classical music talent
Chart-topping classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic has followed his talent to forge an international music career, but his route to success wasn't always clear.
Now he is taking an active role in a charity that supported him in the days before the big record companies came knocking on his door.
"When you leave the very shielded, cushioned, protected environment of a music college, it is really scary," Milos explains.
"You are facing a time when scholarships run out, when you are facing the prospect of needing to teach, even if it's not something you particularly want to do, just because that's the source of income.
"And at the same time you have to make sure that your creative juices do not stop."
Earlier this year Milos, from Montenegro, released a recording of what is perhaps one of the most recognised pieces in the classical repertoire - Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez.
It is his latest album for the Deutsche Grammophon label, the world's oldest surviving record company and a huge name in classical music.
But back in 2008, Milos was doing what many young people do when they have just finished college - grabbing every possible opportunity to show what they can do.
"I was meeting a lot of people that became my champions at a time when I had no support from managers or labels or anything like that," he says.
"And those people, being surrounded by them, is really the reason why I made it in the end, because they gave me that sense of love which I really needed at that time.
"One of the people I met was Philip Jones, the chair of the board of trustees at Awards for Young Musicians (AYM), the charity focussed on young musicians from all background and all walks of life."
It was an encounter that Mr Jones recalls clearly. The young guitarist had been invited to play at a private AYM concert in his home.
"I was lucky enough to sit right at the front," says Mr Jones, "and I was sitting next to three children who'd played before him."
"And he was extraordinary - completely charismatic," recalls the AYM Chair.
"The thing that really struck me was the way these young people were absolutely spellbound throughout the entire 20 minutes that he played - jaws dropping, completely motionless, completely sucked in by this playing."
Recognising that Milos was destined to become a star of the classical music world, Mr Jones suggested that he become a patron of AYM, so "we could all grow together".
It was an investment in Milos's talent at a time when fame was yet to come, and a welcome vote of confidence for the guitarist when he felt vulnerable.
Mr Jones introduced Milos to some of his connections in the music industry and gradually the musician's career began to take off.
"Little by little I was doing better and better, and in 2010 suddenly the doors of everything I had been wanting opened," says Milos.
"I found myself in a very privileged position."
And it's a position that Milos now wants to place at AYM's disposal.
He is playing a concert in east London on Friday at which he brings the story full circle, sharing the stage with one of the young players AYM has supported - another guitarist, Haydn Bateman.
It's a fundraising event in support of an AYM programme which aims to support 1,000 musicians from low-income families each year.
"Because now I feel much more grounded... now is the right time to actually start to be actively involved with a charity like Awards for Young Musicians," Milos explains, "and use the possibilities and opportunities that I have been given through the career that I am having."
And while Milos lends his star quality to the charity's fundraising effort, he's also passing on to Haydn Bateman the direct encouragement AYM gave him back in 2008.
"I once shared a stage with Julian Bream, who was my idol," Milos explains, "and I remember how much that encouraged and inspired me."
"So I hope I can inspire Haydn even just a little fraction of that, because those moments are very special and you remember them for the rest of your life.
For his part, Bateman is delighted. "It's just amazing really," he says. "I'd never have dreamt of what's happening at the moment with meeting Milos, let alone playing with him."
And for Jones, the value of having Milos take part is crystal clear.
"What we are trying to do at Awards for Young Musicians is level the playing field for these young people... and allow our young people to touch and smell what they could become.
"And it works."
Milos Karadaglic and Haydn Bateman appear in an Awards for Young Musicians concert on Friday 10 October at Shoreditch Village Hall, London.