Geoffrey Burgon Explained
Geoffrey Burgon (born 15 July 1941) is a British composer notable for his television and film themes.
Burgon was born in Hampshire in 1941, and taught himself the trumpet in order to join a jazz band at school (Pewley Grammar School, Guildford). He entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with the intention of becoming a trumpet player. However, he found that he was more interested in composition. Burgon initially supported himself and his family as a freelance jazz trumpeter, until at the age of 30 he sold all his trumpets and devoted himself to composing.
The critical success of his Requiem at the Three Choirs Festival in 1976 sealed his reputation as a composer and led to many commissions from major organisations. Continuing the tradition established by Benjamin Britten, Burgon’s fluent and effortless language is particularly well suited to the voice and he has had a long-standing collaboration with counter-tenor James Bowman. Burgon has also had considerable success writing for film and television and has twice received both BAFTA and Ivor Novello Awards.
He married Janice Elizabeth Garwood in 1963 and had a son and a daughter. The marriage was later dissolved. In 1992 he married Jacqueline Krofchak (professional name Kroft), a Canadian pianist and singer; they have a son, Daniel.
- 1974 - ballet The Calm for London Contemporary Dance Theatre, first of many dance scores.
- 1976 - first breakthrough with Requiem at the Three Choirs Festival.
- 1979 - Ivor Novello Award for score to BBC television series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
- 1981 - Ivor Novello Award for score to Granada television series Brideshead Revisited.
- 1997 - premiere of City Adventures, percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie at BBC Proms.
- 2001 - wrote Heavenly Things, commissioned by the BBC for baritone Christopher Maltman.
In addition to television and film work, Burgon has composed many other pieces, including:
- Concerto for string orchestra (1963)
- Short Mass, for chorus (1965)
- Gending, for brass, woodwind, celesta and percussion (1968)
- The Fall of Lucifer music drama in 2 acts for soloists, chorus and five instruments (1974)
- The Calm, ballet (1974)
- Running Figures, ballet (1975)
- Requiem (1976)
- Six Studies for Solo Cello (1980) Composed for Julian Lloyd Webber
- At the round Earth's imagined Corners (setting of John Donne's poetry)
- The Fire of Heaven (setting of Traherne's poetry)
- Title Divine (orchestral song cycle) (1987)
- Theatrical scores for Macbeth (1987), Murder in the Cathedral (1988) and Blood Wedding (1988)
- A Vision (song cycle to poems by John Clare) (1991)
- Hard Times opera (after the novel by Charles Dickens) (1991)
- Trumpet Concerto: The Turning World (1993)
- First was the World (setting of Andrew Marvell)
- City Adventures (concerto for percussion) (1996)
- Piano Concerto (1997)
- Clarinet Quintet (1997)
- Merciless Beauty for counter-tenor and orchestra. Poems by Anon., Chaucer, Blake and Kit Wright (1997)
- A Different Dawn, for celesta, percussion and string orchestra (1999)
- Three Mysteries, for chorus, soloists and orchestra (2003)
- Industrial Dreams, for orchestra (2006)
- Cello Concerto, for cello and chamber orchestra (2007)