He studied at the Vienna Academy of Music under Franz Schreker, and was one of the group of Schreker's pupils - Alois Hába, Jascha Horenstein, Ernst Křenek, Karol Rathaus - who followed Schreker to Berlin when Schreker was appointed Director of the Hochschule für Musik.
He had a long association with the Metropolitan Opera, New York dating from 1924–1926, when Bruno Walter recommended him as assistant to Artur Bodanzky. He was an assistant to Otto Klemperer at the Kroll Opera, then following the Nazi ban on Jewish artists in 1933, returned to be based in Vienna, with visits to London to work for the BBC as an orchestrator. In February 1938 Bürger and his wife deserted a train to Vienna in Paris, and in 1939 departed permanently to America. His mother and five of his brothers were sent to Auschwitz, his mother being shot by the roadside and the brothers murdered in the camp.
Works, editions and recordings
- Stille der Nacht, for baritone and orchestra. Scherzo for Strings. Cello Concerto. Variations on a Theme of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Legende, for baritone and orchestra. Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simone Young, Toccata Classics (2006)
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