Phil graduated from the University of Adelaide and The College of Arts and Education in 1980. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree (specializing in Education) and a Graduate Diploma in Education. He studied piano with Alison Holder at The Elder Conservatorium of Music for three years. He admired Alison’s flair and skill as an accompanist when he heard her play for concerts at “the Con” and decided after hearing his pedagogue playing for lieder soloists and instrumentalists that he would specialize as an accompanist. 

Phil’s background is quite a musical one. His father Keith has been a church organist in Blackwood, South Australia for as long as Phil remembers and is well known in Adelaide by Theatre Organists and his work as presenter of music in that genre on radio 5EBI. 

Growing up with annual Sunday School anniversaries and always singing in the choir of these, Phil loved the choral sound – and watching the piano accompanists playing. His sister played the recorder and violin; his brother played the piano by ear. Laurel his mother sang in the church choir. At the age of nine, Phil began his formal training in music, learning the piano under the guidance of well known teacher, Joy Gracie in Blackwood. 

After graduating as a teacher, Phil and his wife Sally, also a music teacher, moved to Whyalla in 1981 – Sally a music teacher also, at Stuart High and Phil at Whyalla High. The music program at Whyalla High was predominately classically based however under Phil's guidance and inspiration, huge changes were implemented which included the formation of the first ever concert band at the school. He remembers when he ordered the first drum kit for the school!

“…previously, this sort of instrument had never really been thought of as useful in music education at the school. Soon the music room also had amplifiers, lead guitars and keyboards as well! The students became more enthused with their music studies and participated more actively in the teaching/learning process”

After eight years Phil moved back to Adelaide in 1989 being transferred to Norwood High School where he taught for four years. The same year Sally and Phil’s first child Stephanie was born. Norwood High’s music department which included not only teaching duties but also the mentor to contract teachers. Two years later their son Andrew was born. 

In January 1996 tragedy struck when Sally and Andrew died in a car accident while Sally was driving back from Melbourne. Since then Phil has juggled casual work with parenting Stephanie, an experience he has found has given him the ability to be flexible in his approach to his parenting role whilst giving him an enhanced ability to effectively resolve issues. It has also given him renewed respect of the preciousness of life.

Phil says…

“The last seven years have been a continual growth experience for me. It started as a living nightmare, and now, striving to live in the present moment and with the help of my friends, I see and appreciate the beauty and value in people around me more and more. While life may still present itself with challenges, there is now a pervading sense of calm and bringing up my daughter is a delight.”

The pinnacle of Phil’s career so far occurred when he was an accompanist with The Australian Youth Choir for two years from 1998 to 2000. He remembers with pride playing the grand piano on The Adelaide Town Hall stage for the choir twice a year.

“I used to greatly admire the visiting world famous pianists who played on that stage when I was a teenager attending concerts. It was a great feeling to now be playing on the same stage and helping children with their choral performances.”

Home | Biography | Experience | Engagements | Contact |