Celebrating a 100-year legacy

Celebrating a 100-year legacy Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) is marking what would have been New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn’s 100-year birthday with a year of celebration.

Douglas, who taught at the then School of Music from 1947 until his retirement in 1980, is regarded as the grandfather of New Zealand composition.

He profoundly influenced the landscape of New Zealand music, says senior lecturer in Composition, Michael Norris.

“Douglas is a role model for many New Zealand composers, not only in the way he sustained a career as a composer in a small country, but also in the way he was open to different musical languages—as witnessed by his own embracing of the electronic medium in the 1960s.”

At the first event of the year, NZSM director, Euan Murdoch, opened the newly refurbished electro-acoustic Lilburn Studios in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late April. The studios continue to be a fundamental part of the composition  programme at NZSM.

“Douglas made Victoria University a mecca for New Zealand composers—creating a legacy that can still be seen in the School today,” says Euan.

“His legacy of musical openness and inquiry can be found in the strong interdisciplinary composition programme at NZSM, which produces many composers who are proficient in both instrumental composition and music technology.”

The launch was followed by a concert in the Adam Concert Room, which featured a reading from NZSM’s Dr Robert Hoskins’ book, Douglas Lilburn: Memories of Early Years and Other Writings and performances of Douglas Lilburn’s music.

Throughout the year, the NZSM Orchestra will perform Douglas’ music at concerts and students from Victoria’s Sonic Arts programme will present his electronic music.

NZSM’s Wai-te-ata Music Press, New Zealand’s longest-running publisher of New Zealand sheet music, which Douglas founded, will also launch new editions of some of his previously unpublished scores.

Find out about Lilburn's 100th birthday celebrations.