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Douglas Lilburn


Trail-blazing Kiwi composer Douglas Lilburn wrote music for four National Film Unit short films in the late 1940s, including the experimental Rhythm and Movement. Encouraged to apply to join the government filmmaking body, Lilburn would instead spend three decades teaching composition at Victoria University. In 1966 he founded a pioneering electronic music studio; he was also instrumental in establishing publishers and archives for New Zealand music. Lilburn died on 6 June 2001. Documentary Aspiring charts a mountain climb he was part of in 1949  for an abandoned 'cinema poem' shot by legendary photographer Brian Brake.

... the bare facts of his career give little hint of the impact this unassuming man had on New Zealand’s cultural life. He taught or influenced several generations of composers and laboured tirelessly behind the scenes to stimulate awareness of New Zealand music. London's Gramophone magazine, in their September 2001 obituary of Douglas Lilburn