8 Mar 2015

Douglas Lilburn's Wellington Years

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 8 March 2015

Philip Norman looks at the music from Lilburn's years in Wellington where he moved for work at Victoria University.

Victoria University

Composer Douglas Lilburn standing by a reel to reel tape recorder in the electronic music studio at Victoria University, Wellington. Photograph: Circa 30 August 1969, from The Dominion Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.

Lilburn moved from Christchurch to Wellington in the late 1940s to work as a lecturer in Victoria University’s new music department. His musical style began to go in new directions, but it was an overseas trip to the US, UK and Europe in the 1955 that really shook him up.

In Lilburn’s words “I realised how provincial and inadequate my musical knowledge and composition techniques were in face of the new musical context I found…”

As Philip Norman describes in this programme, Lilburn began to experiment with serialism, before moving into electro-acoustic composition from the mid-sixties onwards.