By SHIRLEY BROUN
AUSTRALIAN showbusiness has lost one of it’s most supreme talents with the death of Maestro Tommy Tycho, aged 84, in Sydney this morning – just a week before his 85th birthday. The well respected and much loved pianist, conductor, composer and arranger died of complications associated with pneumonia.
Maestro Tommy Tycho 1928-2013
A child prodigy who played piano with the Budapest Philharmonic orchestra at the age of 10, Tommy moved to Australia in 1951 and began to build a new life for himself and Hungarian wife Eve doing what he did best – music.
From 1956 to 1971 he was Musical Director at the Seven Network, he was involved in nine Royal Command performances and has conducted all the ABC symphony orchestra.
Tommy Tycho worked with the who’s who of Australian performers including Peter Allen, Ricky May, Olivia Newton-John, Julie Anthony, John Farnham, Anthony Warlow, Jill Perryman, Barry Crocker, Kamahl, James Morrison, David Campbell, Judy Connelli, violinist Ian Cooper, Suzanne Johnstone, Jackie Love, James Blundell, Don Burrows, Andy Firth, Marina Prior, Rob Guest, Jimmy Little, Tommy Emmanuel, Normie Rowe, Rhonda Burchmore and many others. Overseas performers included Sammy Davis Jnr, Nat King Cole, Shirley Bassey, Louis Armstrong, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and the list goes on.
In 2008 he performed at the piano for Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the opening of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. That same year Tommy Tycho suffered a serious stroke. He then lived in a nursing home where he received regular therapy; though his left side was paralysed, he would compose and play with his right hand. Tommy was a dedicated artist to the very end and will be missed by all who had the privilege to know and work with him.
FLASHBACK TO TOMMY TYCHO 1994 (Variety Today)
Time to cut back in ’94, but it
`won’t be easy’, says Tommy
TOMMY TYCHO reluctantly admits he will have to `slow down a little’ in 1994. For the man who has brought music to the ears of millions of people throughout his colourful 49-year career and is a self-confessed `workaholic’ the thought of cutting back on performances is somewhat daunting.
“It sure won’t be easy, I can tell you,” Tommy confessed.
Four months ago Australia’s popular maestro underwent a triple bypass operation, followed the next week by a prostate operation. “It was just one of those things. The first operation triggered off the next, so I really didn’t have a choice,” said Tommy.
But the bypass operation was not totally unexpected, said Tommy, who 13 years previously had a quadruple bypass conducted (on the operating table) by the late Dr Victor Chang. “I have swum one hour or walked each day for the past 13 years, and eaten sensibly, so my lifestyle won’t need to change that much at all. I will, however, have to pull back a bit on the performing side – and that won’t be easy,” said Tommy.
Tommy, 65, is certainly a survivor in every sense of the word. Three days after his latest heart operation he was walking and seven weeks later was conducting performances for Julie Anthony and Anthony Warlow at the Sydney Opera House.
Prior to Christmas he also fulfilled concerts in Perth and Brisbane and was then looking forward to a few days off.
His long and illustrious career has seen him work, conduct, arrange and write for some of the world’s most famous performers and, as many in the industry will attest, Tommy has helped many a young artist get started in the highly competitive world of entertainment. Among them, Peter Allen whose first television appearance was under the baton of maestro Tommy Tycho.