b EPPING, ENGLAND 1955
His initial musical experiences were as a trumpeter with the
brass band at the school where his parents taught. Trumpet
playing is still an important part of his life although for much
of his professional life he has devoted himself to developing a
new and personal language with the piano.
Following education at Surrey University where he studied
composition with Reginald Smith Brindle, Sebastian Forbes and
Robin Maconie, Chis Burn became involved in free improvisation. A
commitment to this way of working has stayed with him throughout
his career. He considers all his compositional work to be
informed by his experiences in this area of contemporary music
making. In 1984 he formed Ensemble, an octet of improvising
musicians whose work embraces some aspects of composition. This
group is still working today and has performed at many European
festivals and broadcast on radio and television.
On leaving University he made his living as a pianist,
conductor, arranger (particularly dance band scores) composer for
dance and teacher. At this time he developed what was to be a
life long interest in extending the sound world and performance
techniques of the piano. This lead to a complementary interest in
Cage, and particularly Cowell.
In 1993 he made a
solo CD of the music of Henry Cowell. This met with universal
critical acclaim. "Chris Burn, poised technician and trenchant
interpreter, is the most convincing Cowell champion I've heard."
(Andrew Porter, The Observer)
Selected Works New projects
Although many of his early works were for large orchestral
forces, (including 3 evocations, premiered at St Johns, Smith
Square,) the last decade has seen a concentration on small
ensembles and pieces for solo piano. VICTO have released a
collection of solo piano pieces recorded at the 1996
Victoriaville festival, Canada. Other festivals where he has
performed his material include Ulrichsberg Kalaidaphon, FMP
Berlin, LMC London, Bochum Germany etc. Many of his ensemble
pieces have worked with notated material used in conjunction with
freely improvised material. For his work in composition he was
shortlisted for a Paul Hamlyn award in 1993. He has received many
other grants and prizes for his work.
He currently continues to give lectures and concerts of Cowell,
does a small amount of teaching, performs in many situations as a
free improviser, is preparing a new CD of Ensemble pieces and
continues to play 5 a side football.