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Douglas Lilburn

A.k.a. Douglas Gordan Lilburn

Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) has been described as the "grandfather of New Zealand music," having worked in both conventional classical styles as well as pioneering electro-acoustic music in New Zealand. He was born in Wanganui, New Zealand, in 1915, and began studying music in 1937 at the Royal College of Music, London, where he was tutored in composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Returning to New Zealand in 1940, he was guest conductor in Wellington for three months with the NBS String Orchestra before moving to Christchurch in 1941, where he worked as a freelance composer and teacher until 1947. Between 1946 and 1949, and again in 1951, Lilburn was Composer-in-Residence at the Cambridge Summer Music Schools. In 1947, Lilburn returned to Wellington to take up a position at Victoria University as part-time tutor in music. He was appointed full-time Lecturer in 1949 and Senior Lecturer in 1955; becoming Associate Professor of Music in 1963, and Professor with a personal chair in Music in 1970. In 1966, Lilburn founded the Victoria University of Wellington Electronic Music Studio and was its director until 1979, a year before his retirement. Having written a considerable body of music for conventional acoustic instruments, he rejected the medium and used the studio for the creation of wholly electronic works. He was arguably the first New Zealand composer to explore the kinds of electronic and electro-acoustic forms being pioneered in Europe’s avant-garde, and felt they would more accurately portray New Zealand in its own right, without reference to culturally-loaded European musical instruments and forms. Some works were purely electronic; others were inspired by natural sounds, making field recordings of beaches, lakes, rivers and natural bush and manipulating them electronically to produce a music that captured the natural spectrum of Aotearoa’s soundscape. Other works interpreted the words of leading New Zealand writers such as Allen Curnow, Denis Glover and Alistair Campbell. Douglas Lilburn died peacefully at his home in Wellington on 6 June 2001.

  • Classical
  • Electronic
  • Spoken Word
  • World
  • Brass

Title Artist Year Type
A Song Of Islands / Aotearoa Overture / ForestDouglas Lilburn - The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd2006Album
Orchestral WorksDouglas Lilburn, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd2006Album
Complete Electro-Acoustic WorksDouglas Lilburn2004Album
Complete Piano Music Volume 1Douglas Lilburn2004Album
The Three SymphoniesDouglas Lilburn / The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra / James Judd2002Album
Douglas Lilburn - Orchestral MusicDouglas Lilburn, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, William Southgate1996Album
Landfall In Unknown Seas/Diversions For String OrchestraDouglas Lilburn, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Sir Edmund Hillary1995Album
A Song of IslandsDouglas Lilburn1995Album
The Three SymphoniesDouglas Lilburn – The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra / John Hopkins1994Album
Drysdale Overture / A Birthday Offering / Prodigal CountryDouglas Lilburn, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, David Griffiths, Orpheus Choir Of Wellington, Sir Charles Groves, John Hopkins1987Album
A Song Of IslandsDouglas Lilburn1986Album
Symphony No. 1 / Festival Overture / Suite For OrchestraDouglas Lilburn, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Conducted By John Hopkins1986Album
New Zealand Brass QuintetNew Zealand Brass Quintet, Douglas Lilburn, John Ritchie, Kenneth Young1983Album
Symphony No. 2 / Aotearoa Overture / Diversions For String OrchestraDouglas Lilburn1982Album
Canzona - Music For Strings And VoicesDouglas Lilburn, Schola Musica Of The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Directed By Ashley Heenan, Patricia Lawley And Anthea Moller1981Album
Instrumental Music 1945-1957Douglas Lilburn1981Album
Soundscape (Electronic Works By Douglas Lilburn)Douglas Lilburn1980Album
Sings HarryRobert Oliver, Milton Parker, Douglas Lilburn1977Album
Symphony No. 2 / Evocation / Prelude And Allegro For Strings / At The Appointed TimeDouglas Lilburn / David Farquhar / Anthony Watson / John Rimmer - The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra1976Album
The Return And The Elegy (Poems By Alistair Campbell, Sound Image And Music By Douglas Lilburn)Douglas Lilburn, Alistair Campbell1967Album
Landfall In Unknown Seas / Cindy / Dances Of Brittany / Turkey In The StrawThe Alex Lindsay String Orchestra1966Album
"Sings Harry" - A Song CycleDouglas Lilburn1953Single
Aotearoa Overture / Third Symphony / SymphonyDouglas Lilburn / David Farquhar, The New Zealand Symphony OrchestraAlbum
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