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Lilburn Lecture: Prosaic Notes from an Unwritten Journal

Wednesday 26 October

Lilburn Lecture 2016: Prosaic Notes from an Unwritten Journal

Acclaimed New Zealand composer Jenny McLeod will share her life’s work with members of the public in November when she gives the annual Lilburn Lecture.

Named after Douglas Lilburn, described as the ‘grandfather of New Zealand music’, the annual Lilburn Lecture is held in Wellington and is a collaboration between the Lilburn Trust and the Alexander Turnbull Library, which is a part of the National Library of New Zealand.

This year’s event on Wednesday 2 November will be the fourth in this series of lectures. Previous speakers are Philip Norman (2013), William Dart (2014) and Chris Bourke (2015).

Michael Brown, curator of music at Alexander Turnbull Library says the Lilburn Lectures are an important way for the Alexander Turnbull Library to contribute to discourse around New Zealand music, encourage debate and present new ideas.

“We hold extensive collections relating to New Zealand’s musical heritage, including Jenny’s personal papers and recordings. We hope the lectures stimulate awareness of these collections and encourage their use by researchers,” Michael says.

“Jenny is a pre-eminent New Zealand composer of the generation that graduated in the 1960s. Her work has been wide-ranging and adventurous, encompassing epic music-theatre works, orchestral and chamber music, hymns and songs, film soundtracks and more, often displaying a strong influence from popular music.”

Jenny McLeod, 74, began her music studies at Victoria University in 1961, and after further studies abroad, was appointed as Professor of Music and Head of Department at Victoria University from 1971 to 1976, when she resigned.

Her works include the epic music-theatre pieces Earth and Sky (1968), based on the traditional Māori creation myth, and Under the Sun (1971).

In 1997, Jenny received the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and in 2008 was awarded the Composers’ Association of New Zealand’s KBB Citation for Services to New Zealand Music.

“It is an absolute pleasure to have Jenny deliver the Lilburn Lecture this year. She was a student, colleague and friend of Douglas Lilburn, and is sure to have some interesting things to say about musical identity in New Zealand, a topic which preoccupied Douglas throughout his career,” Michael says.

“The Lilburn Lecture takes place annually on the birthday of composer Douglas Lilburn. It’s an important date for the Alexander Turnbull Library, as Douglas was one of the Library’s major benefactors. He helped establish the Archive of New Zealand Music, which is part of the Library’s collections, in 1974, donating his own collection of scores, papers and recordings, and serving as an honorary curator.”


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