’s music and sound art has been described by The Wire as “some of the most eerily effective electroacoustic music I’ve heard,” and 21st Century Music writes "There is a horror and beauty in this music that is most impressive." First prize winner in the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition, his music has also received honors and awards from Bourges, Gaudeamus, Darmstadt, Prix d’Ete, Meet the Composer, ASCAP, Luigi Russolo International Competition, American Music Center, Hultgren Biennial, and others. His music has been commissioned by Spectri Sonori, Musik i Nordland, CrossSound, Augsburg Kulturburo der Stadt, Musikene, Heidelberg Ministerium of Arts/ Trio Ascolto, and Ensemble Noise among others.
Burtner's instrumental and electroacoustic music explores ecoacoustics, interactive media, and extended rhythmic and noise-based musical systems. His music has been recorded for DACO (Germany), The WIRE (U.K.), Centaur Records (USA), Innova (USA), and the Euridice Label (Norway). Two solo CDs, "Metasaxophone Colossus" (2004) and "Portals of Distortion" (1999) are available from INNOVA Records. His original computer music research is presented regularly at international conferences, and has been published by journals such as Organized Sound, the Journal of New Music Research and the Leonardo Music Journal. He has been composer-in-residence at Musikene in San Sebastian, Banff Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and the IUA/Phonos Institute in Barcelona. In 2005 he is an Invited Researcher at IRCAM in Paris, Artist in Residence at the Cite International des Arts, and Composer-in-Residence at Musikene.
Burtner is Assistant Professor of Composition and Computer Music at the University of Virginia where he is Associate Director of the VCCM Computer Music Center. A native of Alaska he studied philosophy, composition, saxophone and computer music at St. Johns College, Tulane University (BFA 1993), Iannis Xenakis's UPIC Studios, the Peabody Institute of JHU (MM 1997), and Stanford University's CCRMA (DMA 2002).
Since 1999 Burtner has developed the Metasaxophone, a project involving imbedded computer systems and augmented performance. Paul Wagner of the Saxophone Journal has described the metasaxophone as "a new instrument with new and exciting textures for the saxophone world...the music is as mysterious and fascinating as the instrument itself," and Scram Magazine writes "If Burtner’s saxes were flesh, they’d be bionic: wired for feedback loops and computerized programs...Burtner explores the outer edges of live performance potential."