The Life and Selected Piano Works of David Burge

Mary Chung, University of Southern Mississippi


Although David Burge is recognized as one of the most important American pianists dedicated to contemporary music in the twentieth century, little is known about his contributions as a pedagogue, lecturer, writer, novelist, and, especially, as a composer. This biographical study focuses on three of his piano compositions: Second Sonata, Eclipse II, and Go-Hyang. Each work represents one of three distinct compositional periods: the first reflects the influence of Prokofiev and features characteristics of the neoclassicism; the second marks a turn to experimentalism, atonality, and serialism; and the final indicates the return to a more traditional style that makes use of more tonal and consonant sonorities and frequently include references to foreign cultures. During his last compositional period, Burge wrote a novel that has ties to Go-Hyang and shows a strong connection to South Korea.