Phillip Wilcher was born in Sydney, New South Wales, on 16 March 1958. He commenced piano studies at an early age and wrote his first piano composition, Daybreak, at age 14. Under the editorship and influence of the late Dr. Franz Holford, Daybreak was published by J. Albert & Sons Pty Ltd, making Wilcher the youngest published composer in Australia at that time. Recently this piece has been recorded by John Martin on a CD titled Ancient Rivers, released by Publications by Wirripang.
Wilcher’s principal teachers include Franz Holford, Neta Maughan and Elpis Liossatos. Informally, he has also received guidance from Miriam Hyde and the late Dulcie Holland.
The majority of Wilcher’s compositions are written for piano, voice with piano, and instrumental solos with piano accompaniment. His work encompasses a broad stylistic range from Romantic to Impressionistic to Contemporary while many of his compositions are inspired by folk music of other cultures. He consistently creates unique and atmospheric pieces. In his more expansive compositions, such as the two Rhapsody Sonatas, he exhibits a strong structural sense, maturity and innovation all within a unique stylistic framework. He has composed music for all levels of difficulty, ranging from educational music for young children to pieces of supreme intricacy and difficulty.
In recent years Wilcher’s piano music has featured on numerous recordings. A collaboration with pianist Jeanell Carrigan has resulted in four CD releases: Arabesque, Out of the Blowing Sands, Etchings and Shimmer. Two of his works also feature on Lift Off, a Tall Poppies release of Australian piano music for children, while Ballade has been included on the ABC Classics CD Felix and Me.
Wilcher’s work is frequently broadcast by ABC-FM and 2MBS-FM. In 2001 a two-hour documentary devoted to his work was broadcast on 2MBS-FM and in 2006, Jan Brown presented a half hour documentary program on his music called Wilcher’s World.
Wilcher is a Committee Member of the Fellowship of Australian Composers, an Elected Life Member of APRA, and a Board member of the Australian Music Teacher Magazine. In 1994 and 1995 he received a Gold and Platinum ARIA Award from Phonogram and EMI in recognition for his work in children’s music.
In 2003 Wilcher delivered a paper and workshop at the inaugural KEYS Competition in Brisbane. In 2004 he composed a full length piano recital for Simon Tedsechi. The component parts of this piece will be published by Keys Press.