My music creations were far from jazz, but wasn’t encouraged to play them, unless I had already practiced my technical work and classical repertoire. This didn’t stop me, and I would often find that sitting at the piano and losing myself playing my music was like prayer and meditation for me. It remains true today, and I feel a great sense of gratitude for the gift I have to create and play.
I wanted to be a professional musician when I left school, but was encouraged to continue my music studies and completed a Bachelor of Education in Music. My musical experience to follow included teaching classroom music, piano students, and my first professional gig with an all female comedy cabaret-performing group called The Hot Bagels. I was the piano player that accompanied the four part harmonies of song parodies we performed. Appearing at Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 1987 was the boost we needed to catapult us to the realm of live performances at festivals, comedy venues and events around Australia. A highlight was performing at the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane and being banned for our risqué lyrics. I then played in a piano vocal duo called ‘Art and Soul’, where we could be found performing a few nights a week at the Hilton International Hotel in Melbourne. We left Australia for a 7 month backpacking trip around the world in 1990, and in that experience I truly understood that music is a universal language, whether in a wine bar in Bordeaux, a village in the tiny hills of Umbria, or a piano bar in NYC; music spoke the language understood by all cultures.
My involvement in the comedy world continued, as I was an excellent improviser at the piano which was a skill that could be used in Theater Sports, a form of improvisational theater, using the format of a competition for dramatic effect. I was in my element creating music soundtracks on the spot to enhance the theatrical performances.
This led me to many wonderful opportunities to compose music soundtracks for live theater both improvised and composed. This progressed to the idea of composing music for film, which I began to do in the early 90’s. With a friend who was a producer/guitarist, I created own music production company called Ridgidigital Music in 1996, an independent music production studio dedicated to composing and recording music for film and television. We composed for numerous award-winning television and film projects culminating in more than 70 hours for Australian and International broadcast. We composed music soundtracks in a wide variety of musical styles for a variety of genres including documentaries, children’s television, adult drama and national radio programs. A highlight came in 2001, winning The Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award for Best Music in a Children’s Television Series for Li’l Horrors.
In 2003 I auditioned for Cirque Du Soleil, and a year later was offered a position as keyboard player for a new production in Las Vegas. This would lead me to pack up my life as I knew it in Australia to be part of the creation of ‘KA’ at MGM Grand, and would culminate in 8 years of my life performing over 3000 shows on a schedule of 10 shows a week. It was an amazing experience to be working with creative artists at the top of their field in all aspects of a production of this magnitude and excellence. We came from all over the world to create the magic of music and acrobatic performance together in a show. The Los Angeles Times stated “KA may well be the most lavish production in the history of Western theater. It is surely the most technologically advanced.”