About the Lilburn Residence

The former home of composer Douglas Lilburn (ONZ) in Thorndon, Wellington has been offered as a residence for New Zealand composers for over 15 years. 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 New Zealand School of Music Composer-in-Residence. 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.

Lilburn House Open Day in the Wellington Heritage Festival 2023

Thorndon Creative and Historic Cottages walk MAP 2023Join us at the Lilburn House (22 Ascot St, Thorndon) on the afternoon of Saturday 28 October 1-4 pm for an Open Day. This is a golden opportunity to visit the house and wander around the garden. At 2.30 and 3.30 pm there will be short performances in the Living Room from Briar Prastiti, our current Composer-in-Residence, with Salina Fisher (violin, and a previous Composer-in-Residence at the Lilburn House), and Elliot Vaughan (viola).

Our Open Day can be incorporated into the Thorndon Creative and Historic Cottages walk. A beautiful map (created by Lilburn Heritage Trust trustee, Chris Cochran) will guide you from the Randell Writers' Cottage Open Day to the Lilburn House and from there to the Rita Angus Cottage for 'Sketching in the Rita Angus garden'. (Click on the image to enlarge or collect a copy of the map at any of the three cottages on Open Day.)

Our current Composer-in-Residence

Briar Prastiti photo 2Briar Prastiti
took up residence in January 2023 and will be in the Lilburn House until the end of 2022. Since June she has also been the CNZ Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music.

Briar is a freelance composer and performer (primarily as a vocalist). Her music reveals a strong interest in diverse cultures -- particularly in Greek traditional music with which, as a Greek New Zealander, she feels a strong affinity. Briar is also a visual artist and creates her own illustrations and music videos.

On being told of the Composer-in-Residence award, Briar said “I am thrilled to be appointed composer in residence at the Lilburn House. It’s a beautiful space that has already made a huge impact on my creative process” Peter Walls, speaking on behalf of the trustees, said that they were delighted to have Briar as the next in a long line of distinguished composers-in-residence. “Briar has a busy time ahead of her including fulfilling two commissions for Orchestra Wellington and another for the Bay of Plenty Symphonia. We wish her a very productive and happy time working in Douglas Lilburn’s former home.”

The Magpie House

SOUNZ The Centre for New Zealand Music has released a podcast series that examines the history and inhabitants of the Lilburn Residence. Entitled The Magpie House, its host Kirsten Johnstone weaves together the stories that surround the house and its inhabitants into a Forest-Gump-like saga of war and music, cold-war espionage and persecution, the search for identity and a place to call home.

Listen to the four episodes below:

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