Music, art and story combined
If there is one unifying element in a Glenna Burmer project, it’s storytelling. Whether producing a symphonic concert or creating an animated short film, Burmer uses the language of music to connect with audiences, captivate the listener and create an original and compelling story.
For a decade, Burmer Music has presented emerging composers and their music. Concert ticket sales are often earmarked to support education or humanitarian causes. Partnering with scientists, university lecturers and others, Burmer creates educational programming that extends the music into the community, reaching a new generation of listeners.
Our history and philosophy
Burmer’s first concert, Symphonic Stories, grew from an unlikely beginning. In March 2011, Glenna was in Japan with her son when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck. As a musician, she turned to music to express her feeling, and the symphonic piece, “Love Song of the Japanese Cranes,” resulted.
“An unexpected new presence in Seattle culture”
says the Seattle Times
Burmer then invited other composers to create short works in a musical genre of their choosing. The only caveat: The music had to tell a story. Each composer rose to the challenge, combining dynamic personal styles with highly imaginative narratives. The world-premiere concert at Benaroya Hall was critically acclaimed, and proceeds benefited the musicians of Sendai, Japan, who had lost everything in the disaster.
Commissioning original music written specifically for an event became the model for all subsequent Burmer Music productions. From the initial idea to the final performance, each concert represents one to two years of preparation by composers, soloists, dancers and musicians, culminating in critically acclaimed world-premiere performances.
Her work has featured combinations of world instruments such as kotos with orchestra (“Love Song of the Japanese Cranes” from Symphonic Stories), Flamenco dancers and guitarists accompanied by chamber orchestra (“Spanish Dances” from Celebrate World Music), an original ballet realizing the visual richness and horror of Dante’s Inferno, and an audiovisual concert that showcased 13.2 billion years of the universe compressed into 10 minutes and synchronized in real time with actual footage from NASA (“Big Bang” from Origins: Life and the Universe).
About Glenna Burmer
Glenna Burmer, M.D., Ph.D., is an award-winning composer, captivating story-teller, inventive film-maker, and retired pathologist who takes much of her inspiration from her Japanese-American roots.
Burmer is president of Burmer Music LLC, a multi-media production company that has produced seven contemporary classical or jazz music CD compilations, including three concerts at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and two ballets. Acclaimed by audience and critics alike, her production, Celebrate World Music!, won the 2014 Independent Music Vox Populi Award for both the best contemporary classical album and best instrumental.
Her music led her to write, produce and score the animated short film, Nana korobi, Ya Oki (“Seven Falls”) which tells the story of a young girl in Hokkaido who overcomes seven trials to save an orphan during a snowstorm. The film has been well-received nationally and internationally since its 2021 release, winning more than 50 awards for animation and composition.
Burmer is now turning her talents to fiction-writing. Her current project is a science fiction trilogy which leverages her training as a medical scientist and her expertise in molecular biology, biotech and medicine to create worlds filled with fascinating characters and hilarious experiences.
Before retiring in 2018 to devote herself full-time to the creative arts, Burmer was an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington’s Department of Pathology and the co-founder and chief scientific officer of the life science reagents company, LifeSpan BioSciences, which was acquired by Thompson Street Capital Partners in 2018.