Photo by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
California Ballet's Maxin Mahon: “I wanted so much to be a dancer, but there was no company in San Diego back then. In those days."
The New York Times called him "one of America’s important pianists," and his concerts were described as "an overwhelming experience" (Washington Post). Author of Twentieth Century Piano Music, Burge was the former director of the piano department at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
In 1993, Burge moved to San Diego with his wife, Liliane Choney, and served as composer-in-residence for the San Diego Ballet. He died in April, 2013.
Stories Burge wrote for the Reader from 1995 to 1998:
- I grew up in the Midwest during the Great Depression. As was the case with most families, we were poor, but there was, nevertheless, a small upright piano in our living room. There were upright pianos in everyone’s living room, as far as I can recall. Pianos were taken for granted, like overstuffed sofas, somber pictures of grandparents, and marble-topped tables. (April 27, 1995)
Susan Dramm: “Very few of my friends have pianos anymore.”
- “I have always been interested in music.” says composer Ron Gillis, founder and artistic director of the San Diego Choral Artists. “As a kid I always walked around with tunes in my head. I thought everyone did.” “Eventually I wanted to learn how to play what I was hearing — even when I was still pretty small. I taught myself chords on the guitar — acoustic guitar, you know." (April 18, 1996)
Ron Gillis: "I started calling our group the Dead Composers Society."
- "It’s just like it was yesterday. On November 27  we were in a little village of Hagaru [North Korea]. That was the day the Chinese attacked further north and headed our way. There were three of us on a street corner with a 30-caliber machine gun. Our field of fire was the main street of the town." (June 20, 1996)
Members of B Company, 1st Marine Division, 1st Motor Transport Battalion, Korea (Robert Weishan at far left). Weishan: “There were terrible problems with high tides — at Inchon they ran 18 to 20 feet."
- “Do you know, Stravinsky would come to the studio,” she exclaims. “The composer, Igor Stravinsky, I mean! When we took a break, he would go to the piano, hunched over, you know, with Mr. Balanchine right behind him. They argued in Russian, of course." (June 25, 1998)