Colours of Aotearoa
Whanganui-born composer Douglas Lilburn’s overture ‘Aotearoa’ and ‘Symphony No. 2’ were recently performed by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Charleston; the conductor was New Zealander Grant Cooper, who is also the orchestra’s artistic director. Charleston Daily Mail reviewer Rick Justice wrote: ‘“Aotearoa’ is an orchestral joy. It sparkles with colour and light and is filled with frolicsome reflections of nature. It reminded me of the music of colours by American composer Peter Torke, with solemn moments of brass splendour evocative of English composer Malcolm Arnold. At all times it was a strong, clear voice.” Lilburn founded the electronic music studio at Victoria University — the first in Australasia — in 1966 and was its director until 1979, a year before his retirement. He was awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1988. Lilburn died in 21. He was 85.