Denise Burt

Graphic arts and design for music / Insta: deniseburt / Twitter: @DanishDenise




“Great Art Deserves to be Seen” – An interview in Kristeligt Dagblad

Denise Burt has, over a short time, become one of the most in-demand artists for classical music album art. She throws out the classical terminology and searches in to the core of the music when she creates visual universes for Danish and International music releases.
– Lise Kabell Søgaard, Kristeligt Dagblad (DK), July 2018

> See whole interview here (in Danish)


“Burt’s graphics respond to the radical nature of the music within, as with In C and Timber with a visual shorthand that promises a sensual, emotional experience as well as an intellectual one. Seeing New Music’s 24 items make much recent ‘cover design’ for rock and pop look hackneyed and anaemic.”
– John L. Walters, Eye Magazine (UK), September 2017

> See review here




“What Does Music Look Like?” – An audio-visual story about 8 album designs

When Denise Burt started designing classical music album covers, she knew nothing about the music. And that might have been to her advantage.
– Tom Huizenga, NPR (USA), July 2015

> See whole story here


Classical cover art: the good, the bad and the ugly

“Burt’s thoughtfulness, imagination and visual variety is an insight into what can happen when label, composer and artist are working in creative synergy. I especially like what she came up with for Per Nørgard and Pelle Gundmundsen-Holmgreen, images that satisfy on their own terms but which intrigue and entice you to hear the music, the subtle balance that classical cover art should always try to achieve.”
– Tom Service, The Guardian, August 2015

> Read the whole article here




BOOK: ‘Seeing New Music – Contemporary classical music through the eyes of a graphic designer’, by Denise Burt

“In a cultural climate where there is considerable, daily navel-gazing, bewailing even, of how to make Classical music—let alone the frightening contemporary stuff!—relevant and appealing to today’s audiences, this is a book the relevance of which utterly belies the modesty of its scale. Burt’s journey shows familiarity breeds not contempt but informed enjoyment, which she recycles to spread the message further afield in the best way she can, through her art. Seeing New Music is beautifully produced and I have found it a delight to read—and to return to.”
– Guy Rickards, Gramophone (UK), May 2015

> See full review here




“Lang’s death speaks (Cantaloupe Music, 2013) is a triumph of the designer’s art in taking elements from various sources—including a decidedly creepy late Victorian photograph—and fusing them into a wholly new work of art. Of her latest artwork, those for Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer and Lang’s Love Fail take simple images to encapsulate an element at least of the music as a narrative image, whereas for Michael Gordon’s Rushes or Rune Glerup’s dust encapsulated and ordinary images are sublimated into the abstract to represent something of the composer’s art. In the case of Holmboe’s Chamber Music (I), an image of multiplying bacteria in a Petri dish illustrates—illuminates one could say—the internal organic processes of Holmboe’s music while standing on its own as a vivid piece of art.”
– Guy Rickards, Gramophone (UK), May 2015

> See full review here



“A strange challenge behind album cover artists and graphic designers like Denise Burt is to capture (or at least pique curiosity in)
one artistic medium through the use of another…  In fact, the two are often paired in such contrast that to a browsing patron stores might
as well be selling vast rows of mystery boxes… classical album art has long suffered from this disconnect, mostly stemming from artwork
that has been attributed to and never coordinated with its product. Denise Burt’s album artwork has seemed to realign this creative
flowchart using a more focused, logical process…

Denise Burt’s contributions spell renewed confidence in the future of contemporary classical marketing. The genre’s coexistence
with the digital age demands the thoughtful subtlety and collaboration graphic designers bring to the table.”

– Steve Nagel, (US), August, 2015
> See full article here





“Droplets of guitar and piano are bathed in swaths of melancholy violin sustains, wrapping enchanting lines … death speaks is well worth multiple rotations. Special mention is due art director Denise Burt (Elevator Design) for the year’s most arresting and memorable album cover.”
– Time Out Chicago, December 2013 (Best of 2013: The top 10 classical and new-music albums of the year)






“Dacapo… the boutique Copenhagen-based label, known for manufacturing products of distinct physical as well as musical beauty.”
Gramophone, 10.06.11






“The sonic river of Per Nørgård’s music. Flowing through symphony, flowing through song, and flowing now in four buckling tributaries down the back of singer Helene Gjerris. The cover artwork was a surprise, and yet not a surprise: the rare appearance on a Dacapo sleeve of a photographed human form, yet still the stamp of the label’s exquisite ‘look’ – its economy of colour and tone, its integration of text, and most of all its uncanny two-dimensional echoing of the music frozen inside the plastic box.”

Gramophone Reviews Editor Andrew Mellor on the making of this CD cover for his blog Moose Report. Read the rest of the article here.




“Music collectors are suckers for creative album packaging, and with Timber, composer Michael Gordon has a winner. It comes entombed in medium-density fiberboard, laser-etched with a starburst of 3-D planks. Thankfully, the Bang on a Can cofounder’s latest is as musically compelling as its mantel-ready wooden case.”
Time Out Chicago, August 10, 2011

Collectors will be interested to know that physical copies of Timber – as opposed to the download versions – are packaged in very smartly designed, special wooden boxes made out of inch-thick, medium-density fibreboard – a very cool and appropriate presentation.
Classics Today, August, 2011

“And then there’s the packaging (by the Cantaloupe label) for Michael Gordon’s new work Timber… the CD comes in a stunning wooden box. Hats off to the small labels who continue to keep music vibrantly alive.”
NPR, July 23, 2011

“Not only is this release musically pleasing, it’s easily one of the coolest packaging designs for a CD we’ve seen in a while.”
The Signal to Noise Blog, August 11, 2011





As you may have noticed, it has no title and artist names on the front and contains no liner notes. In fact, instead of being an informative book, the cover is a piece of conceptual art, that unfolds chaotic principles related to those of the music. It is almost music itself.”
Jexper Holmen, interviewed by Collin Rae, for Mutations, Naxos of America’s blog


Interview about the design for this CD on Danish Radio (the interviewer speaks Danish but I speak English).
Hear the interview on DR’s P2





“This is one of those rare discs, where, from the very start of the process, with the composer sitting down with pen in hand to the design and finish of the end product, the guiding principle has been one of perfection. It leaves me slack-jawed with admiration.”
International Record Review, March, 2011




“Denise Burts slående cd-cover gestalter de to første værkers uforglemmelige, neogotiske skønhed.” (“Denise Burt’s striking cd-cover manifests the first two works’ unforgettable, neo-gothic beauty.”)
Klassisk (DK), 2013