Lloyd Burritt | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Lloyd Burritt

Lloyd (Edmund) Burritt. Composer, teacher, baritone, b Vancouver 7 Jun 1940; B MUS (British Columbia) 1963, M MUS (British Columbia) 1968. In his teens he took piano lessons from Ira Swartz, Elaine Korman, and Annette Atlee.

Lloyd Burritt

Lloyd (Edmund) Burritt. Composer, teacher, baritone, b Vancouver 7 Jun 1940; B MUS (British Columbia) 1963, M MUS (British Columbia) 1968. In his teens he took piano lessons from Ira Swartz, Elaine Korman, and Annette Atlee. He studied at the University of British Columbia with Jean Coulthard (composition) and Donald Brown and Marie Schilder (voice), and in England at the Royal College of Music 1963-5 with Herbert Howells and Gordon Jacob (composition). At Tanglewood (summers 1965, 1966) he studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Dee Hiatt, and Gunther Schuller. Returning to the University of British Columbia, he worked 1966-8 in electronic music under Courtland Hultberg.

In 1964 Burritt began teaching in schools in the Vancouver area, and from 1970 he taught at Argyle Secondary School, first music and, from 1981-99, theatre and composition. In the late 1970s he served on the music curriculum committee for British Columbia, for which he designed composition courses. In 1989 he sang the role of Judge Turpin in the University of British Columbia production of Sondheim's Sweeny Todd.

As Composer

Burritt has composed on commission for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Assassinations, Fanfare, and Electric Tongue); the CBC (Spectrum and incidental music for Peer Gynt); the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Overdose); the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Memo to RCCO); Hugh McLean (Icon); the Canadian Music Centre; and the Vancouver Lesbian and Gay Choir. In 1986 he was commissioned to write Song for Marshall McLuhan for the opening ceremony in the Canada Pavillion at Expo 86. His works often employ texts and reveal literary associations and influences; they also display a profound spiritual sense, eg, Altar of the Sun (1983), which was written as a result of a trip to Italy and inspired by the life and teachings of St Francis of Assisi. His works have been performed by major ensembles in Canada, the USA, Great Britain, and Sweden. Burritt uses sounds colouristically and employs repeated patterns to produce a freely structured expressionist music.

He began to serve as an adjudicator of composition in regional and provincial festivals in the late 1970s. Although he retired from teaching in 1999, Burritt continues to compose and remains an associate of the CMC. More recent works include Yellow the Sweet Ache, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano (2000) or women's chorus (2002) commissioned by the CMC and set to the poetry of Betsy Warland; andThe Dream Healer, a two-act opera based on Timothy Findley's book Pilgrim (premiered 2008).

Selected Compositions

Dramatic Works
" Once Again... Pop!," pantomime (Burritt). 1969. SATB, tape. Ms

Electric Chair, pantomime. 1971. Actress, alto saxophone, tape. Ms

Others including Moby Dick Rehearsed (1969), Tiny Alice (1969), Peer Gynt (1972). All manuscript


Lloyd Burritt, "Musique concrète," "Electronic music," This is Music for Today 7, ed Paul J. Bourett and Sherwood Robson (Toronto 1971)

"Transpersonal psychology in the music room," British Columbia Music Educators' Association, Spring 1977

Orchestra and Band

Song (Burritt). 1963. Mezzo, chamber orch. Ms

Symphony in One Movement. 1963. Orch. Ms

Three Autumn Songs (R. Frost, F.R. Scott, A. MacLeish). 1965. Mezzo, piano, orch. Ms

Hollow Men (T.S. Eliot). 1968. SATB, orch, tape. Ms

David (E. Birney). Ca 1977. Ten, bar, SATB, orch. Ms

Symphonic Overture. 1980. Ms

Song for Marshall McLuhan (McLuhan). 1986. Bass-bar, SATB, synthesizer, orch. Ms

Crystal Earth (Burrit). 1987. Sop, SATB, concert band. Ms

Several other works for orch and tape: Assassinations (1968), Electric Tongue (1969), Cicada (1970), New York (1970), Overdose (1971), Spectrum (1972). All manuscript


Sonata. 1962. Pf. manuscript

Memo to. 1972. Org, tape, typewriter. Ms

Memo to FATC. 1972. Keyboard, tape. Ms

Memo to RCCO. 1972. Org, tape. Ms

Choir and Voice

"In Time of the Breaking of Nations" (1963), Kyrie (1967), "Rocky Mountain Grasshopper" (1970). Our Music Our Words (1994), Five Miniature Songs (1997). All manuscript

Works for voice "October" (ca 1965), "Winter Is Another Country" (1965), "Landscapes" (1968), Haiku (1969). "At the Androgyne Carnival"(1997). All manuscript

Also "We're Just Kalapas" (1985) for narrator, bar, treble chorus, instr ensemble. Ms

Electronic and Mixed Media

Acid Mass (T.S. Eliot). 1969. SATB, dancers, film. Ms

Fanfare. 1969. Brass, tape, film. Ms

Electric Soul. 1970. Tape, dance

Altar of the Sun. 1983. Actors, voices, dancers, SATB, fl, horn, percussion, piano. Ms

The Hobbit (Burritt, after Tolkien). 1984. Actors, voices, dancers, SATB, fl, horn, percussion, piano. Ms

Also Sonata (1963-2002) for violin, piano. Ms

Further Reading

Challenge yourself - take the CC Quiz!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country.  We also produce the Heritage Minutes and other programs. If you believe all Canadians should have access to free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages, please consider donating today. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.

Book a Speaker