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He was born Boorowa, New South Wales. He started playing trumpet at the age seven. He also plays trombone, euphonium, flugel horn, tuba, saxophones, and piano. In 1979, aged 16, he performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and graduated from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music the next year. He was given the Mo Award, for the Australian Performer of the Year in 1990. In 2000 he played the opening fanfare for the Sydney Olympic Games.