Jan Hillier – Pianist Extraordinaire!
Acclaimed pianist, Jan Hiller was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and began playing the piano at the age of fourteen. She was born to play, as upon finishing college at the age of eighteen she traveled both North and South Islands entertaining at various events and nursing homes. Jan moved to Australia in 1978 after marrying Howard Thompson, an engineer, whose work took him to Sydney. It was a marriage bound in music as Howard was also a professional musician, who had played in many of the Big Bands in the USA, where he spent many years following his move from the UK, where he was born.
This musical partnership resulted in their producing radio programs for Radio 2CBAFM, Sydney, from 1984-1992,
the production of numerous cassette tapes and later CDs to satisfy the demand of Jan’s listening audience.
In 1988 Howard suffered a stroke, which meant that Jan had to compère and manage the radio program single handed. During Howard’s recovery they produced a series of stroke and injury recovery exercise programs.
Following Howard’s death in 1993 Jan continued playing at nursing homes, restaurants and performing showcase recitals on centre stage at several large shopping centres in Sydney, where she received daily comments from many, including former Prime Minister, The Honorable John Howard.
Her piano playing received a new lease of life in 2009 when she married a fellow music lover, Richard Hillier. In their life together on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Jan played at a number of clubs and nursing homes, often supported by her husband as he sang and acted well known melodies.
Graeme was introduced to Jan through a mutual friend and he was so impressed with the quality and shades of her music that he has restored and preserved her many audio cassettes and CDs for posterity so that others can continue to enjoy the magic of her piano playing.
The music on these CDs is available via 66 download platforms around the world. Type in ‘Jan Thompson-Hillier albums’ in the search window of your streaming ap where you can envelope yourself in Jan’s music for hours on end.
Graeme Interviews Jan Thompson-Hillier
We were very fortunate to capture this interview while in NSW. Jan was 92 when she recorded this number. Sadly she died twelve months later in 2017 leaving a legacy of her extraordinary piano playing for all to enjoy.