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Holly Burke

Leading Vancouver composer/lyricist/flutist/vocalist/pianist Holly Burke has been on the scene in Canada and the US for decades, quietly persisting to produce creative, texturally rich and evocative music that often transcends genre.

Holly began playing the piano at age four, and wrote her first piece at age eleven. As a teenager in Toronto, Holly heard the flute one morning in the  chapel of her high school, and became enchanted. The Naturals received several radio play music awards for their tune ‘Serengeti.’River of Stars’ did well in radio as well. Holly has an International Broadcast Award from the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.  She’s performed internationally at Jazz and music festivals, as well as locally on CBC TV and radio, NPR, CITR and at our Vancouver area Jazz festivals.

Holly enjoys collaborating with Grand Prix Du Montreal Award winner and bandmate, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and orchestrator Bill Runge. Together, they create a unique sound. For the past year Bill and Holly have been writing new music for solo piano, to be recorded in November 2020, featuring Vancouver’s own crown jewel of the piano, Linda Lee Thomas. 

Drawing upon her many years of dance and theatre training, Holly is known as a compelling performer. She’s accrued many VO and TV credits including the National Film Boards ‘Kosovo a Fragile Peace’, Special Unit 2, Cold Squad V1, The Dead Zone, and It’s a Girl Thing. Burke has recorded on a multitude of projects including working with Terry and Scott Jacks, the legendary Linton Garner and Clark Burroughs, lead tenor of the Hi-Los. Holly acknowledges the influence of the late great Paul Horn, whom she values as a creative mentor, as well as her family and father, writer and CBC newsman Stanley Burke.

Holly’s 2012 offering “Nature Girl” was conceived during a six-month sojourn in the Costa Rica rainforest where she gained a new appreciation for nature and all its wonders. This current offering combines elements of world beat, fusion jazz, avant-pop, ambient, and enigmatic forms that defy description. Some of her wide-ranging musical influences include; Paul Horn, Diane Reeves, Hubert Laws, Claude Debussy, J.S.Bach, Betty Carter, Pat Metheny and Roland Kirk. The compositions include some moving lyric content, exciting and thoughtful improvised instrumental soloing and some infectious grooves combined with fresh harmonic content, thoughtful arrangements, brilliant performances by a crack band that includes some of Canada’s best musicians, pristine recording values, and a pervasive sense magic and mystery.

The recording of the Naturals second CD was underway in 2015, when Holly experienced a concussion. Those effects have stayed with her.  With the exception of the 2018 Kozmik Keyboards project that Holly both wrote and played, Holly has not performed in public. She pours her creative energies into writing, realized with the help of her beloved collaborator Bill Runge.

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Album Review

Holly Burke, Bill Runge & Linda Lee Thomas: Dreamride

Read "Dreamride" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Holly Burke put the days of the Covid quarantine to good use by spending a period of quality time with herself and her piano. The result is Dreamtime, twenty improvised vignettes. These snippets are short, heartfelt, sometimes reflective and at other times quite gregarious, and consistently beautiful. Though Burke is the composer of these solo piano tunes, the set would not have come together without collaboration. Bill Runge, one of Burke's long-time teammates, stepped in to help craft the ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced


Manny's Arms

From: Dreamride
By Holly Burke

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