About the Lilburn Residence



The former home of composer Douglas Lilburn (ONZ) in Thorndon, Wellington has for more than 10 years been offered as a residence for New Zealand composers. The property is administered by the Lilburn Residence Trust, who ensure that the property is used in a manner befitting the legacy of New Zealand's most important composer of the 20th century.

The Trust normally offers use of the house to the composer holding the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM). If that composer does not require the house, then the Trust calls for applications from other New Zealand composers. Each composer lives in the house, paying a modest rent, for up to a year.

Upcoming events and latest news

Dr Aleisha Ward is the recipient of the 2017 Lilburn Research Fellowship, which is hosted by the Alexander Turnbull Library and funded by the Lilburn Trust.

TVNZ's programme Neighbourhood showcased Thorndon in July – including an interview with John Elmsly at the residence.

The Lilburn Residence Trust was runner-up in the Environment & Heritage category of the 2016 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for Wellington city. Read the press release.

FINALIST Icon 2016 Wellington City

Current resident


Alison IsadoraAlison Isadora arrived in early July 2016 to take up residence at the house and her position as the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music.

She is a performing composer (and a composing performer) and has been practising in the Netherlands since 1986.  

A born and bred New Zealander, Alison studied political philosophy and music at Victoria University with Jack Body, then moved to the Netherlands, where she learned violin with Vera Beths, and composition with Gilius van Bergeijk and Theo Loevendie at the Hague Conservatorium, as well as postgraduate performance theatre at DasArts in Amsterdam.

Her work often incorporates elements of storytelling and participation while addressing social issues. In her capacity as a music educator, Isadora explores sound with students of dance, choreography and theatre at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem and she has recently become increasingly interested in the possibilities of connecting music to other disciplines. 

‘I’m excited and honoured to have the opportunity to compose in Wellington for a year,’ says Isadora. ‘The prospect of living in Douglas Lilburn’s house, who I regard as the grandfather of New Zealand music, is truly inspiring.'

Find out more about other composers who have lived and worked at the Lilburn Residence.