Wilbur Whitta is an award winning jazz pianist and composer based in London.
Originally from Australia, Wilbur established himself as an in-demand musician in Sydney. He has performed extensively around Australia, appearing at festivals as both a composer and performer. Wilbur relocated to London in September 2017. He now works widely on the UK jazz scene, performing regularly around the country and throughout Europe. He is currently focused on composing and performing with his newly formed trio. This exciting new group is set to record their debut album this year and are aiming to tour this music extensively.
Wilbur’s musical influences span from jazz pianists Craig Taborn, Kris Davis, Brad Mehldau, Gerald Clayton, Pablo Held and Kit Downes, to classical composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Elliot Carter and Bela Bartok, through to an eclectic mix of contemporary musicians such as “Kneebody”, “The Roots”, Ambrose Akinmusire, Simon Barker and Jamie Oehlers. These influences inform Wilbur’s distinctive sound and unique compositional voice.
Currently in his mid twenties, Wilbur has been presented with numerous honours and awards. Most recently he was awarded the 2019 Dankworth Jazz Composition Award for Small Ensemble, and was selected as a semi-finalist in the Riga Jazz Stage jazz piano competition. Other awards include the prestigious Australia Council for the Arts Career Development Award, the Leverhulme Trust Postgraduate Scholarship, the Tait Memorial Trust Award, the Boulton Memorial Fund Scholarship, the Rose Mandelbaum Scholarship in Music, the BBM Youth Support Award for Music and the Anthony and Sharon Lee Foundation Jazz Scholarship
To date, Wilbur’s performance credentials include performances throughout Europe and Japan, alongside the London Jazz Festival, Redfest Bristol, Manly Jazz Festival, Peats Ridge Music Festival and the Australian Music Week. He has also worked with some of Australia’s most respected jazz figures, such as Warwick Alder, Dave Panichi and Judy Bailey. Wilbur was a long-term member of prominent Australian reggae band “Black Bird Hum”.
Wilbur recently completed a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied on scholarship for two years. He graduated with distinction and was awarded the Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music (DipRAM). He undertook principle study in jazz performance, and secondary study in classical composition. He is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, completing his undergraduate degree with First Class Honours in 2016. While a student in Sydney, Wilbur received various faculty and university-wide scholarships, including the Conservatorium’s inaugural Jazz Scholarship and a University of Sydney Honours Scholarship. Wilbur also regularly led workshops on leadership within improvisation to students at the University of Sydney.
An experienced and enthusiastic educator, Wilbur offers music tuition in piano performance (classical, jazz, popular), music theory and composition. If interested please use the contact section on this website.
"I was immediately struck by Wilbur's exceptional technical facility, as well as his singular and personal voice on his instrument" - Kit Downes
"Wilbur Whitta is an exceptionally talented young pianist/composer who I expect will make a substantial contribution to Australian music in the years to come." – Mike Nock