Kym Dillon is an emerging composer; arranger; orchestrator, pianist and conductor, who is currently based in Melbourne and Geelong. Starting out his career as a jazz pianist, his interest soon turned to composition, and his work now regularly spans multiple genres and areas of musical practice.
He completed a Bachelor of Music Performance Honours in composition at the Victorian College of the Arts, studying under such teachers as Anthony Lyons, Mark Pollard, and John McCaughey. He was awarded the 'Beleura Sir George Tallis Award' from the 'Friends of the VCA' for his work in the course in 2009; and the 'Beleura John Tallis Award' in 2010. He composed and performed two original jazz works for the VCA Improvisation Series in 2009, for which his ensemble won the 'Athanaeum Prize’.
Kym has had original works commissioned by such groups as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Astra Chamber Music Society, and Musica Viva; and his music has been performed in Canada, the U.K., North America, Canada, Romania and Italy. His work is often inspired by reflections on the nature of imagination and creation — what it means to create and what our creative compulsion says about us.
Kym has frequently collaborated with the choreographer and artist Jude Walton, including performing solo piano compositions for her show Heide (2014) and Heide II (2015) at the Heide Museum of Contemporary art; conducting his compositions for brass quartet for her show The Drill Hall Project (2017); and performing a collection of serial and improvised piano works for her show Nadja-Léona (2018).
In 2017 Kym was commissioned by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Box Hill to compose a cantata for chamber orchestra, choir and soloists celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran reformation, with the work being given a repeat performance in 2018. 2019 saw Kym collaborate with BK Opera to transform the intense orchestral score of Béla Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle into the radically different style of synthesiser-laden 80’s electronica.
As a pianist he performs regularly in jazz/contemporary contexts, often as a soloist but frequently as an accompanist to vocalists, such as in 2015 where he performed on piano as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival show, Larry Paradiseo and the Fabulous Dame Farrar. He also regularly performs on piano with the Georgia Brooks Swingtet, a group that specialises in revitalising classic swing-era jazz tunes.
His work as an accompanist and arranger regularly brings him to schools around Victoria, such as Christian College Geelong, Geelong College, Ballarat Grammar, Geelong Grammar, and Loreto College. He is also the accompanist for the Geelong Youth Choir, whom he has also composed a work for, We Sing (2017). He is regularly commissioned to compose new material for student ensembles, including multiple jazz pieces for big band, a processional, and pieces for an orchestra/rock band combination.
Kym is also a conductor for the charity Creativity Australia’s ‘With One Voice’ program, which seeks to connect people from different walks of life through community singing. As part of this role he conducts three choirs (Geelong, Altona Meadows and Ashburton), having led them to perform at venues such as the Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, and the Monash carols in Jells Park 2013.
He has occasionally worked as a freelance journalist for the major entertainment website IGN.com, where he has written a variety of articles on the subject of music in interactive media. He has also created videos for his online project ‘Music for the Imagination’, which features videos designed to bring young and new audiences into the imaginative world of ‘classical’ music. He also teaches contemporary piano, theory and composition from his home town of Geelong.