Paul Grabowsky AO (b.1958) was born in New Guinea while his father was working for New Guinea Goldfields. Part of a musical family, he began taking piano lessons at the age of five. In the mid-1970s he dropped out of university to pursue a career as a jazz musician in Melbourne. In 1980 he moved to London, and for some years he played in various clubs across Europe. Returning to Australia in 1986, he began working with the film industry, and at the same time, he founded the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative. His next band was The Wizards of Oz, followed soon after by the Groovematics, who recorded several albums and played for three years on Tonight Live with Steve Vizard. Grabowsky worked briefly as ABC television's Commissioning Editor for Arts and Entertainment. He is the founder of the Australian Art Orchestra, and amongst national and international tours, Grabowsky focusses on collaborating with traditional and contemporary Indigenous performers. He has won dozens of awards for his compositions and performances, including four ARIAs and two Helpmann’s.
Photographer Martin Philbey said of this portrait of Grabowsky ‘I really wanted to capture Paul in his working environment, the space where a thought or an idea becomes something more tangible.’