Douglas Lilburn

Douglas Lilburn

New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn, 11/02/1915 -- 6/6/2001

Pretty Mountain

In 1936, while still living and working in New Zealand, Douglas Lilburn won the Percy Grainger Prize for his tone poem Forest.  He also won several other important prizes after the Grainger. In 1937 he left New Zealand to study composition in England with Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music until 1939, returning to New Zealand in 1940. Not surprisingly, the music from the first of his three creative periods shows strong influences of Vaughan Williams as well as the 20th-century Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. During this initial creative period, Lilburn produced his first spectacular, visually evocative orchestral tone poems. To listen to the Grainger Prize-winning Forest and other orchestral works by Lilburn, please click:

During his second stylistic period, Lilburn was influenced by the more sonically astringent works of such 20th-century composers as Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, and members of the Second Viennese School, chiefly Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. His third symphony is a representative work from this time.

Lilburn became interested in his third style, electro-acoustic music, in about 1966 when he founded the electronic music studio at the Victoria University of Wellington.  He had long served on Victoria’s faculty, beginning as a lecturer in 1949. He directed its electronic music studio until 1979 and retired from the university in 1980. You can listen to his complete output of electro-acoustic music at

To enjoy listening to any of these works by Douglas Lilburn, click on any of the links above from any UCR library computer, or from your own machine, while logged into the VPN.

Caitlin St. John, M.A.

UCR Libraries Music Subject Specialist

Manager, Music Library
(951) 827-3137 or 2268

Last modified: 11/1/2013 4:09 PM by M. Potter

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