Peter Wyllie Johnston is a musician and writer. His publications include From the Melburnian (2011), The Nick Enright Songbook (2014), Morag Beaton-Her Life and Her Art (2019) and more than 200 articles on music. He is the composer of the music and lyrics of Moses-the Spirit of Freedom, the additional book of Joanna White's Girl in Pink, and the music, lyrics and book (with literary contributions by Trent O'Bryan) of Tamarama.
Peter was born in Melbourne and grew up in a strongly academic, religious and musical family. He learned the piano from the age of five and sang professionally with the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) from the age of eleven, later also singing with the Victoria State Opera. He wrote his first composition at the age of twelve, and when he was fourteen composed the score of Ian Robert Parker's short feature film Girl on the Boulevard, starring top Australian model Jill Goodall. Owing to complex family circumstances, he diverted into careers as a lawyer, academic, RAAF officer (Flight Lieutenant), and teacher before returning to music full time in 1995. Throughout this period, he composed more than 300 pieces of music and performed in piano bars in the United States and Australia, also appearing in cabaret, while working at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Liebler Yavneh College, Yesodei Hatorah College, and teaching at Monash and La Trobe Universities. Since 2010 he has been Director of the Australian Music Theatre Research Institute (TAMTRI). In 2011, he was appointed to his current position: Associate Professor with Honorary status in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne.