Diana Burrell was born in Norwich in 1948.
She studied at Cambridge University, afterwards moving to London for 30 years, and now lives in Harwich, Essex. After spending several years as a teacher, she became a free-lance viola player, but gradually concentrated her energies on writing music. Her first piece to receive widespread critical acclaim was the Missa Sancte Endeliente, a 50-minute work written for the 1980 St Endellion Festival.
Blaze, a 2013 BBC Proms commission for the young Norwegian brass group tenThing was extremely well-received and led to her current piece of work, a commission from the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a large-scale concerto for the whole of their brass section with the rest of the orchestra. This is scheduled to receive its world premiere in 2016.
For the last three years in addition to her compositional work, Diana ran the Harwich Festival of Arts where her bold, imaginative programming with its emphasis on the contemporary and the thought-provoking attracted national acclaim, greatly lifting the profile of the festival. Her own music has been called fresh and vital, uncompromising in its integrity whilst communicating directly to the listener. She has written of her need for ‘strong, rough-edged things, brave disrespectful shapes and sounds…’ as much a reference to her love of modern architecture as a declaration of her compositional creed. She has succeeded in creating a unique, personal language which is both primeval and unequivocally of our time.