Musician, composer and conductor Tommy Tycho has died aged 84 after suffering complications of pneumonia.
Born in Hungary, Tycho started his career as a pianist for ABC radio in the 1950s. With the advent of television Tycho moved to Sydney channel ATN7, performing on the station’s opening night program in December 1956.
By 1957 he was Musical Director at ATN7, composing and performing for many of the channel’s early productions including the Revue series, Studio A and The Mavis Bramston Show.
In the book Forty Years Of Television, commemorating ATN7’s 40th anniversary in 1996, Tycho recalled his time at the station:
“In my long and fortunately successful career, one of the most happy times was my fifteen years at Channel Seven — an incredibly busy and creative period when I was able to learn and improve my craft and perform with a legion of international and local stars, all of them good friends to this day.”
Among his many career achievements he was musical director for nine Royal Command Performances, the opening of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Entertainment Centre, the Australia Live broadcast and composed music for the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
He also composed original music for the Number 96 feature film in 1973, and in 1982 presented his own series on ABC and was a talent judge on Network Ten‘s You’re A Star.
His version of Advance Australia Fair continues to be played at sporting and special events.
In 1977 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and ten years later a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). In 2007 he was conferred the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sydney.
He had been living in a nursing home since suffering a stroke in 2008.
Tommy Tycho is survived by a wife, a daughter, son-in-law and step-daughter.