Canary Burton

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Canary Burton (born September 16, 1942) is an American keyboardist, composer and writer. Burton was born in Richmond, California and later lived in El Paso, Texas. She studied music at the University of Idaho at Moscow, Idaho, from 1972–1979,[1] and relocated to Washington D.C. and then to Cape Cod. Burton continued her studies with Kevin Toney in jazz in 1980, with David Sussman in 1988, with John Zielinski in composition from 1990 to 1992, and briefly with Rodney Lister at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1995.[2] She worked as a music teacher from 1996–2000.

Burton founded and played in various rock and jazz ensembles while completing her education and worked at WPFW Pacifica radio in Washington D.C. for three years. After moving to Cape Cod, she established her own contemporary music radio show The Latest Score, on WOMR in Provincetown, Massachusetts.[3] Selected pieces of her work were included in the published collection Music of Living Composers, compiled by the Campbell University piano professor and composer Betty Wishart in 1997. In 2013, Southern River was among the winners of the annual Search for New Music competition of the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Burton's works have been performed internationally.[4] Her music, with information about her work, is archived in the Wellfleet (MA) Public Library and in Italy in the library of the Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica.[5] She is the recipient of an ASCAP Plus award, which recognizes composers whose works have a unique prestige value. The 2012 article "Canary Burton: Kaleidoscopic Connections," by Elizabeth Raum, is an extensive profile of the artist.[6]

Her married name was Driller, but she abandoned that name in the 1970s.[7] Her full name is Canary Sandra Lee Adele Burton.

Selected works[edit]

  • Sometime After One (1982), for piano
  • Gaia Morning, Gaia Noon, Gaia Night (1987), for piano
  • Costa Brava (1989), for piano
  • Atlantic Sonata (1992), for piano
  • The Promise (1993), for voice and piano
  • Archeological Record (2008), for piano[8]
  • Daniella’s Hope (2008), for piano four-hands[9]
  • Whispers (2011), for guitar[10]
  • String Theory (2011), for string orchestra[9]
  • Chopin Slept (2011), for piano trio[11]
  • In the Beginning, for organ
  • A Green and Yellow Basket, for organ
  • Solo Viola, for solo viola
  • Clara Young, for voice and piano
  • American Lullaby, for voice and piano
  • Early in the Morning, for voice and piano
  • The Tea Party: The Tea Party; Dancing with my Teddy; Playing Dress Up; Ad Hoc
  • Folksong for My Mother piano
  • Victoria's Harp, for piano
  • Southern River, for cello and viola
  • We Want to Pond Naked, for voice, flute, oboe, piano
  • No More Violins, for violin and piano
  • The Twelfth of Cold, for piano, viola, violin, clarinet, bass, cello, in three movements: Fairy Boat; Snow Imp; Frost Heaves
  • Viola Thinks 2, viola solo
  • Sparcity, for viola, bass, flute, tuba
  • Sri Rama, for piano
  • Nightfall in the City, for piano and voice
  • Refugee, for.guitar and voice
  • Indian Voices, electroacoustic

One-minute pieces

  • La Compara, for piano, trumpet and clarinet
  • Cuban Love, for piano
  • Dust Bunnies, for piano
  • Minute Meld, electroacoustic
  • Viola Thinks 1, for viola solo


  • Familiarity (1977), lead sheet, jazz, one instrument[12]
  • Meteor Shower (1977), jazz/instrumental
  • Companion (2006), for jazz piano[13]
  • Companion, extended for bass, piano and flute
  • Lulu's Rag, for jazz band
  • Sinuosity, for flute, oboe, piano
  • Solar Reflection, fors jazz band
  • Ya Gotta Be Kiddin, for piano
  • Sigred's Lullaby, for piano
  • Raggity Three Step, for piano[14]
  • Turkey Too
  • Tritone Subrosa[15]
  • Monkish

Burton's music has been recorded and issued on CD, including:

  • Piano Music from Cape Cod (Seabird Studio, 2003) Canary Burton, piano[16]
  • Women in Harmony (Tempus Floridum, 2010)[17]
  • Classical Bird: The Music of Canary Burton (2014)[18]
  • Jazz Bird (2014) Canary Burton, piano; Jarvis Trio[19]
  • Bird Notes (2014).[20]
  • Bird Song: Canary Burton and Friends[21]
  • Live at the Center (Roxana Bajdechi, pianist)
  • Lou Lou and Bird: Soundpaintings 2012 (Canary Burton and Marylou Blakeslee)[22]
  • Lou Lou and Bird: Soundpaintings 2014 (Canary Burton and Marylou Blakeslee)[23]


  1. ^ Anne Gray, The World of Women in Classical Music (La Jolla CA: WordWorld, 2007).
  2. ^ "Resume". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Pan pipes: Sigma Alpha Iota quarterly". 99. 2006. 
  5. ^ See
  6. ^ In IAWM Journal 18, no. 2 (2012): 22–23.
  7. ^ Canary Burton, At the piano (CNN Report, July 24, 2008).
  8. ^ Premiered by Max Lifchitz, October 2008; see
  9. ^ a b See
  10. ^ Concert poster is at Information is on Aaron Larget-Caplan webpage .
  11. ^ Commissioned by Daniella Baas. Premiered by Elisabeth Deletaille, violin, Bruno Ispiola, cello, and André Grignard, piano. See
  12. ^ Burton's works from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s are listed at
  13. ^ Listed in Pan Pipes: Sigma Alpha Iota Quarterly, 99 (2006). Premiered by Daniella Baas, November 2007; see
  14. ^ Reviewed January 2016 at
  15. ^ Listen at
  16. ^ Order from Reviewed May 2013 at
  17. ^ Order from
  18. ^ Order at
  19. ^ Order from Reviewed July 2014 at and by Rick Jamm at
  20. ^ Contents at
  21. ^ Order at
  22. ^ Order at
  23. ^ Order at, or through Amazon or iTunes, or listen on YouTube.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]