Phyllis Batchelor

Phyllis BatchelorBefore she was 20, Phyllis Batchelor had gained her qualifications from Royal School of Music and begun her career in teaching which by her mid-twenties was teaching piano at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and later Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar. Unlike her fellow students of Fritz Hart, Margaret Sutherland and Peggy Glanville Hicks, Batchleor did not travel to England for further study but remained in Melbourne where she established herself as a teacher, pianist and budding composer. Batchelor forged a career as a solo pianist and duo pianist with Douglas Gamley, Eunice Garland and Valda Johnstone. She also performed with singers such as Grace Angelau, Kathleen Goodall and, much later, Loris Synan. On many occasions she performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was a regular accompanist for orchestral members and visiting soloists.
In the 1940s Batchelor was program coordinator on 3AR and had her own show on ABC where she presented her own compositions and those of other Australian composers. The program was entitled “Melodies and Manuscripts” and judging by reviews which were kept by Batchelor in a scrapbook, the show was very popular.  In the show she would present her own music which she would rehearse with various artists, record and then play on air. Many other works by other Australian composers, both male and female were also played Batchelor said “Almost everything I wrote at that time was broadcast”. She often worked as a copyist to earn extra money. She married Ivan Pietruschka, a Dunera boy who had formed his own chamber orchestra in Berlin and was later a violinist from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and they worked together as a duo.
Her main output is many songs and a large number of short piano works, sets of variations and a sonata. Unfortunately many of the works are unfinished and all are unpublished. There is an extensive collection of the works of Phyllis Batchelor at both the State Library of Victoria and Monash University library.

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