Douglas Lilburn


Douglas Gordon Lilburn (born Wanganui, 2 November 1915; died Wellington, 6 June 2001) holds an honoured position in the history of New Zealand music. As a composer he pioneered the way for professional composition in this country, and is credited with the establishment of a genuine vernacular voice in music. As a teacher he was a major influence on a whole generation of composers. As a benefactor he has left a legacy which continues to inspire and assist the creation, performance and study of music in New Zealand.

The Archive of New Zealand Music was established at the instigation of Lilburn in 1974 with the aim of building a comprehensive national collection of music materials relating to New Zealand music, musicians, groups and musical organisations of national importance. Lilburn was appointed Honorary Curator in 1984.

The Lilburn Trust was established by the composer in 1984 with the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust.

Income from the Trust is used to fund the annual Student Composer Awards at universities and for grants to performers, composers, authors, filmmakers, recording companies and oral historians to help promote New Zealand’s musical arts, to advance musical knowledge and appreciation, and to preserve musical archives. The Lilburn Trust also awards citations to individuals in recognition of outstanding service to New Zealand music, provides funding for the biennial Lilburn Research Fellowship, and supports the annual Lilburn Lecture, which commenced in 2013.

The Music Advisory Committee - consisting of three appointed members and the Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library - assesses all applications for funding and makes recommendations to the ATL Endowment Trust Board.

Music resources in the Alexander Turnbull Library

The Alexander Turnbull Library has extensive collections of primary material relating to New Zealand and the Pacific. These include collections of printed materials and manuscripts, both in Maori and English, pictorial collections, maps, sound and music.

The Archive of New Zealand Music is the country’s most extensive collection of unpublished music-related materials. It consists of manuscript scores, sketches and performing parts, audio-visual recordings of performances, oral histories in music, personal papers of New Zealand musicians, and records of musical organisations.

The Archive is dispersed through the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library by format, i.e. manuscripts, photographs, drawings, paintings, prints, ephemera and oral history.

Published collections of New Zealand-related music scores, music literature and audio-visual recordings are held in the Library’s New Zealand and Pacific Published Collections. Early and rare printed music is held in the Special Printed Collection.

Music resources in the National Library of New Zealand

In addition to the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, the Lilburn Research Fellow will have access to the General Music Collection of the National Library, consisting of scores, reference and lending books, tutors, serials, orchestral and choral sets, and audio-visual recordings. The collection, which is one of the largest in Australasia, has an international focus and can support research needs.