The following year, Sir Geraint Evans introduced a gala evening of opera, music and ballet, devised by Robert Cohen and featuring John Lill, Felicity Lott, Robert playing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C and artists of the London City Ballet, in the presence of HRH the Princess of Wales. When Charleston's current owners, Peter and Julia Kandiah, moved into the Manor in 1988, they invited Robert to revive the Charleston Manor Festival, which he did the following year.

1989 marked Robert's first year as Artistic Director. Solo recitals, chamber music and string orchestral concerts were performed and over the following three years, this format evolved into what proved to be an even more collaborative and stimulating arrangement; guest artists now stayed for the duration of the festival, playing in every concert and building stronger musical relations within a uniquely inspiring environment. Chamber music became the backbone of the festival and a genre particularly treasured by the consistently growing audience. Robert's concept is a shared exploration of the great classics and lesser-known masterpieces by the artists and audience.