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DOUGLAS LILBURN  

(1915 - 2001)

Born at Wanganui in New Zealand, Douglas Lilburn won an award in 1936 from the Australian composer Percy Grainger.  From 1937 to 1940 he studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Vaughan Williams, thereafter returning to New Zealand where he was already winning success as a free-lance composer.  He taught at Victoria University, where he was appointed professor in 1970, exercising influence over a younger generation of New Zealand composers.

Orchestral Music
In his three symphonies Lilburn reflects at first the world of Vaughan Williams and Sibelius, moving on to other early contemporary influences, and finally breaking with late romanticism and turning to the musical example of America.   The landscape of New Zealand is subtly depicted in Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud), an element that is found in later work, with A Song of Islands drawing on New Zealand regional paintings.   His Processional Fanfare of 1961 uses the student song Gaudeamus igitur and his orchestral Suite, written in 1955, suggests, in its five dance movements, the example of Copland.

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