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Geoffrey Burgon

Biography

Born: July 16, 1941; Hambledon, Hants  
Geoffrey Burgon is an important English composer, best known for his television scores, in particular Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Brideshead Revisited, and for several film scores, including The Dogs of War and Robin Hood. He has also achieved success for his stage, orchestral and vocal works.

Burgon was born in the English village of Hambledon on July 15, 1941. In his teens, he taught himself to play the trumpet, not least to
Read more satisfy his fascination with jazz. At 19 he enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music in London. There he studied trumpet with Bernard Brown, but also took instruction in composition from Peter Wishart. He learned the essentials of composing quickly: a Concerto for String Orchestra dates to 1963 and his first large work, the ballet The Golden Fish, followed in 1964.

Gradually, he focused more attention on composition and began studying with composer Lennox Berkeley. Burgon produced a large number of vocal works during this period, including Short Mass for chorus (1965), Farewell Earth's Bliss (1966), and 5 Sonnets of John Donne for vocal soloists and chamber ensemble (1967), which earned him a Prince Pierre of Monaco Award in 1968.

Burgon forsook his trumpet career in 1971 and over the next several years turned out a spate of works in various genres. His major breakthrough came, however, with a pair of vocal/choral works: Requiem (1976) and The Fall of Lucifer (1977). His first major film scores, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Testament of Youth, as well as the hit television score Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, came in 1979.

Thereafter Burgon was in demand in both the television and motion picture industries. But he hardly abandoned concert and stage music, writing numerous compositions, including Little Missenden Variations for wind quartet (1984), the ballet The Trial of Prometheus (1988), and perhaps his most ambitious work, the 1991 opera Hard Times. He extended the parameters of his already versatile style when he produced the percussion concerto City Adventures in 1994 for Evelyn Glennie and the Piano Concerto in 1997 for Joanna MacGregor.

In the new century Burgon continued to produce music scores at a prolific pace, especially in the vocal realm. Three Mysteries (2003), for soloists, chorus, and chamber orchestra and Of flowers and emeralds sheen (2004), for a cappella chorus, have garnered further laurels for the busy composer. Read less
Browse 1-18 of 18 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection - Original Television Soundtrack
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1455 Release Date: 02/04/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ron Grainer,  Derek Nelson,  BBC Radiophonic Workshop,  Tristram Cary  ... 
    Performer:  Brian Hodgson,  Don Harper,  Carey Blyton,  Dick Mills  ... 
    Conductor:  Ben Foster
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  • 2.
    In Dublin's Fair City
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 396 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geoffrey Burgon,  Samuel Sebastian Wesley,  Benjamin Britten,  John Dexter  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Middleton,  Harry Meehan,  David Leigh,  Victoria Green  ... 
    Conductor:  Stuart Nicholson
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  • 3.
    Burgon: Choral Music / Owens, Wells Cathedral Choir
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55421 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geoffrey Burgon
    Conductor:  Matthew Owens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
    On sale! $12.98
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  • 4.
    Anniversary Series - Choral Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 304 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Eric Whitacre,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  Nigel Short,  Robert Chilcott,  Joseph Cullen,  James Vivian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces8,  Tenebrae,  King's Singers  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 5.
    Journey Into Light - Music For Advent, Christmas, Epiphany & Candlemas / Jesus College Choir
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 269 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elisabeth Poston,  Sir William McKie,  Patrick Hadley,  Judith Weir  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Jesus College Choir
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  • 6.
    Canto Ergo Sum / Benjamin Isachsen
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1004 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Charles Gounod,  Gabriel Fauré,  Trond Kverno  ... 
    Performer:  Benjamin Isachsen,  Magne H. Draagen,  Berit Cardas
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  • 7.
    Wolcum Yule / Andrew Lawrence-king, Anonymous 4
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2927325 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Peter Maxwell Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Horner,  Johanna Rose,  Susan Hellauer,  Marsha Genensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anonymous 4
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  • 8.
    Lunarcy: Songs Of Madness And The Moon
    Label: Evil Penguin Records   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herbert Howells,  Henry Purcell,  Thomas Campion,  Giovanni Kapsberger  ... 
    Performer:  Lawrence Zazzo,  Shizuko Noiri
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  • 9.
    Burgon: Viola Concerto; Cello Concerto; Merciless Beauty / Gamba, Connolly, Dukes, Knight, City Of London Sinfonia
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10592 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geoffrey Burgon
    Performer:  Josephine Knight,  Philip Dukes,  Sarah Connolly
    Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
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  • 10.
    Dreamland / Polyphony, Holst Singers, Trinity College Choir Cambridge
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 41 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruth Byrchmore,  Pawel Lukaszevski,  Nicholas Maw,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly,  Stephen Layton,  Mark Shepherd,  James O'Donnell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum Oxford,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Westminster Abbey Choir  ... 
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  • 11.
    Best Wedding 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64262 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Christopher van Kampen,  Susan Tomes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Reginald Kilbey,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Vienna String Sextet Members,  Ensemble Berlin  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 12.
    Burgon: Requiem, Nunc Dimittis / Hickox, Cleobury
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470380 Release Date: 06/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geoffrey Burgon
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Jennifer Smith,  Ann Murray,  Thomas Hopkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wooburn Singers Choir,  Wooburn Singers,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 13.
    A Gaelic Blessing / Owen, St. Mary's Cathedral Choir
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34007 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Goodenough,  Johannes Brahms,  George Henschel,  Samuel Sebastian Wesley  ... 
    Conductor:  Matthew Owens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Mary's Cathedral Choir
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  • 14.
    Light Of The World / Tewkesbury Abbey School Choir
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 68 Release Date: 01/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Morten Lauridsen,  Colin Mawby  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tewkesbury Abbey School Choir
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  • 15.
    Noel - Carols & Chants For Christmas / Anonymous 4
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2907411 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Anonymous,  John Tavener,  Benjamin Britten,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Johanna Rose,  Susan Hellauer,  Marsha Genensky,  Ruth Cunningham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anonymous 4
    On sale! $55.49
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  • 16.
    Songs Of The Soul - Surinach, Ridout, Victoria, Et Al / St Louis Chamber Chorus
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7272 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlos Surinach,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Alan Ridout,  Clare Maclean  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Barnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Chamber Chorus
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 17.
    Remembrance / John Scott, St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67398 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  William Henry Harris,  Maurice Duruflé,  Ian Kellam  ... 
    Performer:  Huw Tregelles Williams
    Conductor:  John Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
    Recommendation
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  • 18.
    King's Collection
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460021 Release Date: 03/05/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Geoffrey Burgon,  Henry Walford Davies,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  Edward Gardner,  James Vivian,  Robert Quinney
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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