His Life and Music
A 21 chapter salute to a cultural icon. Winner of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007 biography category, this book offers fascinating insights into the world of New Zealand music, literature and fine art through the eyes and ears of one of New Zealand’s most creative sons, ‘the father of New Zealand composition’, Douglas Lilburn.
Written by Philip Norman, himself a leading New Zealand composer as well as holding a PhD in musicology, the book is a happy blend of meticulous research with the human-interest revelations of Lilburn’s personal papers.
Lilburn was at the vortex of arts activity in New Zealand from 1940 onwards, forging friendships with many of the luminaries of New Zealand’s cultural history – Allen Curnow, Ngaio Marsh, Denis Glover, James K Baxter, Rita Angus, Evelyn Page, Robin Hyde and Charles Brasch to name but a few – as well as associations with New Zealand’s leading arts organizations from the National Film Unit, Landfall and New Zealand Players, to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
The ‘musician with the farmer’s hands’, as Lilburn once described himself, touched and enriched many lives. This biography is a lively account of this complex and extraordinary man.
Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music can be purchased from Philip for $45 plus postage and packaging.
Please contact for further details
What the critics say–
“Philip Norman’s biography of Douglas Lilburn is a ground-breaking achievement for New Zealand music, a publication that will put our leading composer up there alongside his more widely celebrated colleagues in the literary and visual arts.”
“One of the reasons we, as readers, are so fortunate in having Philip Norman’s biography of Douglas Lilburn is that both subject and biographer engage intensely not only with music, but with the written word. Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music is a rare feat – a critical biography that is … a bloody good read … this is a book to get ecstatic over.”
Jack Body New Zealand Listener 2006
William Dart The New Zealand Herald 2006
Anne Kennedy Landfall 2013
“Philip Norman has written a magnificent book that exposes and illuminates a huge chunk of New Zealand’s cultural history … This book is a compulsory read, not only for those with some familiarity with Lilburn the man, or Lilburn through his music, but also for anyone with a skerrick of interest in New Zealand’s path to cultural maturity in the 20th century.”
John Ritchie at Ninety:
Compiled and edited by Philip Norman
A charming and illuminating tribute to Emeritus Professor Dr John Ritchie on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, written by 60 of his friends, colleagues, family and former students, and compiled by fellow composer Dr Philip Norman. Includes over 90 photographs, a complete list of compositions and arrangements, transcripts of interviews, thought-provoking quotes, a biographical time-line and examples of hand-written manuscripts.
Spitfire pilot, composer, conductor, Catholic convert, professor, patron, president of an international music society and father of five: John Ritchie’s colourful and varied life is beautifully encapsulated in this elegant and eloquent publication. 214pp, plus index, soft cover, perfect bound.
John Ritchie at Ninety can be purchased from Philip for $30 plus postage and packaging. Please contact for further details