The Ellington’s 15th Birthday Festival 1st – 3rd March 2024
Paul Grabowsky is a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor – and is one of Australia’s most distinguished artists.
Born in Lae, Papua New Guinea in 1958, Paul was raised in Melbourne where he attended Wesley College. During the late 70’s he became prominent in the music scene in Melbourne, working in various jazz, theatre and cabaret projects.
He lived and worked in Europe and the US from 1980-85, during which time he performed with many jazz luminaries including Chet Baker, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin. He returned to Australia in 1986 and established a reputation as one of Australia’s leading jazz musicians with such bands as his own trio and sextet, the Wizards of Oz and as musical director for singer Vince Jones.
He was musical director of Tonight Live with Steve Vizard (a nationally televised variety show) from 1990-1992.
He was Commissioning Editor (Arts and Entertainment) for ABC Television 1995-98.
He has written the scores for over twenty feature film scores in Australia, the UK and US including ‘Innocence’ (Paul Cox), ‘Last Orders’, ‘The Eye of the Storm’, ‘Words and Pictures’(Fred Schepisi) and ‘Shiner’ (John Irvin). His television credits include the series ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Janus’ and the Emmy-winning ‘Empire Falls’. His works for the theatre include four operas and various multimedia works. His most recent opera, created for soprano Emma Matthews, ‘The Space Between’, with libretto by Steve Vizard, premiered at Arts Centre Melbourne in September 2018.
He is the Founding Artistic Director of the Australian Art Orchestra, which he led from 1994-2013.
He has won eight ARIA awards (most recently in 2020 for his recording Please Leave Your Light On’ with singer Paul Kelly), two Helpmann awards, several APRA and Bell Awards and a Deadly award. He was the Sydney Myer Performing Artist of the Year in 2000 and received the Melbourne Prize for Music in 2007. He was the 2010 Australian National University H.C.Coombs Fellow.
He was Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival from 2005-2007 and was Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival of Arts for 2010 and 2012.
A Professor at Monash University since 2012, he is currently director of the Monash University Performing Arts Centres and the Monash Art Ensemble. He oversaw the development of the Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, which opened in May 2019, and launched MLIVE, a year-round series of curated performances.
In 2014 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to music and arts administration.
In 2019 he was appointed Artist in Residence for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for which he composed 4 symphonic works.
Tonight he is joined by Alistair Peel on bass and Ben Vanderwal on drums.
On this very weekend in 2009, The Ellington Jazz Club opened it’s doors for the first time. Those doors have stayed open seven nights a week, for fifteen years since! We’re celebrating this milestone with a three day festival showcasing our diverse and vibrant Jazz scene, and in honour of the late Graham Wood, the club’s co-founder. Please join us to celebrate the beating heart of Perth’s Jazz community, to commemorate the rich history of The Ellington Jazz Club and to toast to it’s bright future!