The Magpie House
SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music
Finalist in the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards.
Off a bustling Wellington city thoroughfare there's a quaint, narrow lane called Ascot Street, where sits a modernist house whose tar black weatherboard and stark white trim inspired the name ‘the Magpie House’. Out back, lies an overgrown jungle of a garden where New Zealand’s ‘father of classical music composition’ Douglas Lilburn, who lived in that house for over forty years, liked to spend time growing vegetables and listening to the calls of the Tūī.
In this four-part series, host Kirsten Johnstone delves into the colourful legacy of the Magpie House and its inhabitants, weaving their intriguing—and often surprising—stories into a Forrest-Gump-esque saga of war, music, cold-war espionage, persecution, and the search for identity and a place to call home.
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