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John Burge: Biography

John Burge
1961 -
Region: Ontario

John Burge

Dr. John Burge was born in Dryden, Ontario in 1961. He also holds degrees in Composition and Theory from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. Since 1987 he has been teaching at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where he currently holds the position of Full Professor in the School of Music. He has written a large body of vocal, chamber, and orchestral compositions but he is particularly well known for his choral music. Many of these choral works have been published by Boosey and Hawkes Music Publishers. His composition, Angels’ Voices, for choir and orchestra, received the 2006 Outstanding New Choral Composition Award from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and was performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2005.

Over the years John Burge has had a long and productive relationship with the Kingston Symphony and their Music Director, Glen Fast. Since 1991 they have commissioned and premiered many of his orchestral compositions, including a Piano Concerto, Clarinet Concerto, Trumpet Concerto and two symphonies. More recently, Sinfonia Toronto has been programming and commissioning Burge compositions and in 2008, this ensemble released a CD devoted entirely to some of Burge’s string orchestra music on the Marquis Classics label. The title track of this disc, Flanders Fields Reflections, received the 2009 Juno Award for Best Canadian Classical Composition. With other large ensemble works having titles such as, Snowdrift, Rocky Mountain Overture, Upper Canada Fiddle Suite, and The Canadian Shield, it is obvious that a number of his works draw their influence from a distinctively Canadian perspective. Orchestras and audiences seem taken with these works as they have received numerous performances across Canada and even as far away as Brazil and Russia. John Burge received his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music while still in high school and continues to perform both solo and collaborative recitals. He enjoys working with young musicians and regularly adjudicates piano and composition classes at music festivals across Canada. A passionate advocate for Canadian music, he was a member of the Executive of the Canadian League of Composers from 1993-2007, serving as President from 1998-2006 and he currently sits on the board of the SOCAN Foundation.


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