James Burton


Photo by Robert Torres

Born in London, Mr Burton has performed with many leading UK orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata. He has been a regular guest conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional of Mexico, and in 2018 was honoured to lead the orchestra’s 90th anniversary concerts, performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Mr Burton’s opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and in his early career he worked as assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Paris and Opera Rara. In the last year he has conducted the Ulster Orchestra and the Vermont Symphony, and he will guest with Denmark’s Aalborg Symphony this coming summer. With a strong background in choral repertory, Burton was Choral Director of the Hallé Orchestra and Music Director of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, and has regularly conducted the BBC Singers and other leading professional choirs including Tenebrae on their recent USA tour. He won the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009.

In 2017, Mr Burton was appointed as the Boston Symphony Orchestra Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. He has led performances at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and has guest conducted concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has given many performances as a frequent guest conductor of the Boston Pops.

Since 2020 Mr Burton has been the Director of Orchestral Activities at Boston University. As Master Lecturer at the College of Fine Arts, he has overseen the school’s orchestral repertoire, performances, and stewardship of orchestral education, and he has served as principal studio teacher for the doctoral program in orchestral conducting.

Mr Burton holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (Music) and Master of Arts (Music) from St. John’s College, Cambridge University where he was a choral scholar, having begun his musical training as a chorister in the Choir of Westminster Abbey. Also an active composer, Mr Burton’s works have been performed by leading choral groups including the King’s Singers and The Sixteen, and his work The Lost Words was performed earlier this year by the Royal National Scottish Orchestra. His composition portfolio is published by Edition Peters.