Originally trained as an artist, Phillip Houghton began music studies at the age of 20, receiving advice and encouragement from the late John Champ, one of Australias greatest pianists, music educator and radio broadcaster.
Phillip studied classical guitar with Sebastian Jorgensen at the artists colony Montsalvat, in Eltham Victoria where he later lived and worked. As a guitarist Phillip toured extensively and was recorded by the ABC before deciding in 1980 to leave performance and concentrate on composition. Australian composers Hellen Gifford and Peter Mumme encouraged his developing style. He has written for theatre, dance and film (including John Dingwall's feature The Custodian and the Plasmo animation series by Tony Lawrence).
As a composer Phillip is self taught and his compositions reflect the influence of many styles: classical, jazz, rock, ambient and world music. His early influences include the music of Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Gryphon, Gong, Miles Davis, Satie, Debussy, Ravel, Riley, Crumb and Eno, while his work continues to reflect a strong interest in art, mythology and the environment.
Houghton's guitar music has been performed and recorded by leading musicians, including John Williams, Carlos Bonell, John Mills, Nicholas Goluses, Timothy Kain, Guitar Trek, Karin Schaupp, Slava Grigoryan, Gareth Koch, Tonie Field, Peter Constant and Marion Schaap (ZOO DUO). Some 20 of his guitar solos, published by Moonstone Music, are on the national syllabus (AMEB) and he is also represented in the new Benjamin Verdery Guitar Series for Frederick Harris Publishers.
At the 1990 Adelaide Festival, John Williams premiered Houghton's work for guitar solo 'Stele'. This performance was recorded and televised by ABC TV. This piece appears on the John Williams CD 'The Guitarist'.
In 1995, guitarists Peter Constant and Marion Schaap (ZOO Duo) received financial assistance from the Australia Council to produce their CD of Houghton's works "Light on the Edge". This CD was nominated in the 1997 ABC Record of the Year awards.
Houghton has adjudicated at the Darwin Int. Gt. Competition, the Australian Gt. Competition, and been an examiner and given masterclasses / lectures at universities and conservatoriums. At the 2000 Australian Gt. competition & Festival Houghton presented a lecture on the 'creative process', and in 2002 was invited to teach and lecture at the University of Colorado by (Head of Guitar) Charles Wolzien.
In 1990 Houghton established Moonstone Music Publications, a 'small cottage industry' through which he could publish his music.