George Albert Burdett was born in Boston in 1856, the son of Horatio S. and Melvina Martin Burdett. He received an A.B. in 1881 from Harvard College. He was an organist who also composed organ works, piano pieces, and anthems. He was a frequent contributor to musical periodicals and a founding member of the American Guild of Organists. In 1887 he married Ellen S. Strong of Brookline and they had three children: Elizabeth Martin Burdett Birch, Ellen Moore Burdett Shaw, and Sylvia Strong Burdett Dunham.