Simon Pilbrow was born in Oxford, UK, in 1962. In 1965 he moved to Melbourne and has lived there ever since (except for two years in the United States). As a child, Simon learned Classical piano and violin through various lessons and summer programs. In the early 1970s his interest in Scott Joplin's ragtime music eventually led to his life long love of Jazz.
Simon studied briefly at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, WI. He has been a member of various groups: Monash Jazz Quintet, Monash University Big Band, Simon Pilbrow Quintet, Julian Driscoll Quartet, Graham Finch Quartet, Peninsula Jazz Trio, "Dizzy's" Big Band, more recently with singer Lizzy Gascoigne and the Ron Gillett/Simon Pilbrow Duo. Simon has been musically active in church most of his life. Simon has also led various efforts to raise money for projects in East Timor and various world natural disasters.
Simon began composing in 1979 and seven of his compositions including "Ballad for Thad" and "Tribute" (To Bill Evans) are held in the US Library of Congress as a part of the permanent Gerry Mulligan Collection. Whilst many of Simon’s compositions have been heard in performance over the years, in 2017 he recorded twelve of his compositions for the first time, with the Brent Fischer Orchestra. This collaboration featured the arrangements of Grammy-winning Brent Fischer, a first-class cast of US jazz musicians, and a variety of settings - including big band, clarinet choir, nonet and string orchestra, and showcasing a broad range of Simon’s compositions spanning 35 years of writing, and the versatility and brilliance of Fischer’s intricate arrangements. The recording features a variety of latin and swing rhythms and tempo, and features Simon’s musical tributes to musicians such as the late trumpeters Woody Shaw and Blue Mitchell, and in “A Fischer’s Line”, a tribute to Brent’s father, the late and much acclaimed jazz pianist/composer/bandleader Clare Fischer.
Simon is an occasional online reviewer of CDs and concerts. His reviews of LAJI festivals can be read on All About Jazz https://www.allaboutjazz.com/