Bachelor of Music, Northwestern University, 1951. Master of Music, Northwestern University, 1952. Doctor of Music Arts, Eastman School Music, 1956.
Postgraduate, Cherubini Conservatory, Florence, Italy, 1957. Doctor of Fine Arts, Bucknell University, 1980.
As a performer, he was noted for championing contemporary pieces. The New York Times called him "one of America’s important pianists," and his concerts were described as "an overwhelming experience" (Washington Post) presenting "masterful artistry" (Baltimore Sun). While on the faculty at the University of Colorado in Boulder during the 1960s and 1970s, Burge founded and directed the Colorado Festival of Contemporary Music, and he was also Musical Director and Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.
During that period, George Crumb collaborated with Burge while writing Makrokosmos, a series of four volumes of pieces for piano.
Makrokosmos, Volume I was composed in 1972 for Burge, who had previously commissioned and premiered Crumb"s Five Pieces for Piano (1962). The Nonesuch recording of Makrokosmos, Volume
I was nominated for a Grammy. Burge also worked with composers such as Ernst Krenek, Luciano Berio, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and singers including Cathy Berberian and Bethany Beardslee.
After leaving the University of Colorado, he chaired the Piano Department at the Eastman School of Music for many years.
Over his career, he gave more than 1,000 concerts in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, composed more than 100 works, authored the book Twentieth-Century Piano Music (Shirmer Books, 1990), wrote prize-winning columns for Keyboard Magazine, Clavier and The Piano Quarterly."
His ballet scores became increasingly well known outside the San Diego area, with over thirty performances in the United States and abroad. In early 2002, Burge and Crumb were appointed to a joint residency at Arizona State University. He accepted visiting professorships not only at many universities and conservatories in the United States but also in Denmark, Turkey, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and of Korea.
Burge died from a heart attack on April 1, 2013 in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Served with Army of the United States, 1952-1954, Korea. Member American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, International Webern Society (charter), American Society University Composers(founder, national chairman 1970-1974), Pi Kappa Lambda.
Married Liliane Choney, 1993. 1 child, Russell David.