John Burge Summer Concert at St. George’s Cathedral

While John Burge does spend a great deal of his professional time composing, teaching and adjudicating, he still endeavours to find time to practice the piano and schedule the occasional piano performance.  It is somehow engrained in his musical DNA that to be a musician means being able to perform, but equally, the time spent playing the piano is an opportunity to meet some of the world’s best composers on a daily basis in the quiet space of his music room.  As well, John Burge always tries to work out all the kinks of his own piano compositions himself before releasing the notes to the public.

In the past, these performances were most often of a collaboration with another musician or musical group sometimes involving the performance or premiere of some of his own music.  He recalls fondly a concert with flautist, Leslie Newman, which included the premiere of his Sonata Breve No. 3 and the many years of accompanying for the Canta Arya School for Strings in Kingston.  Recently though, John Burge has devoted his piano performances exclusively to solo presentations of his own music and usually has a full recital of music within his fingers.  Drawing upon his experience as a professor, he greatly enjoys structuring these performances as more of a lecture demonstration, especially in a university or educational setting.  Beginning in 2012, John Burge began composing his own set of 24 Preludes in all major and minor keys.  Many of these preludes were played in small groups to gauge their effectiveness and the complete set was finally completed early in 2015.  Taking approximately one hour to play, these preludes can easily occupy a large portion of a concert or an entire lecture.

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