Wilbur is an award-winning Gadigal (Sydney) based pianist and composer who makes contemporary jazz and improvised music.
Originally from Canberra, Wilbur has performed extensively around Australia, the UK, Europe and Japan. He has appeared as a member of legendary Australian jazz outfit “Ten Part Invention”, and has performed alongside artists of international acclaim such as Kit Downes and Will Vinson. He currently leads his own band “Wildfire”, who have recorded their debut album for ABC Jazz – to be released on the label soon.
Wilbur was selected as a finalist in the 2021 National Jazz Awards, and in 2019 (while living in London) won the UK-based Dankworth Jazz Composition Award. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Wilbur had earned a name for himself as an in-demand pianist in London, where he received the UK’s Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, and was selected as a semi-finalist in the Riga Jazz Stage jazz piano competition in Latvia.
Wilbur’s musical influences span from contemporary pianists Craig Taborn, Aaron Parks, and Kit Downes through to classical composers Sofia Gubaidulina, Bela Bartok and Olivier Messiaen. These inspirations converge to form Wilbur’s distinctive compositional voice.
He has been presented with numerous honours and awards, including the prestigious Australia Council for the Arts Career Development Award, the Tait Memorial Trust Award, the BBM Youth Support Award for Music and the Anthony and Sharon Lee Foundation Jazz Scholarship.
Wilbur 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), a prize given for outstanding performance in a postgraduate level final recital. He undertook principle study in jazz performance, and secondary study in classical composition. He is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he received the Conservatorium’s inaugural Jazz Scholarship, and completed his undergraduate degree with First Class Honours.
“He is prodigiously talented … I believe he will go on to become an important voice in the genre, both through his piano playing and through his compositions” – 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