James Burton

Born in London, James Burton is one of the UK’s leading young conductors. A graduate of St John’s College, Cambridge and the Peabody Conservatory, where his conducting teachers were Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier, his recent conducting engagements have included La Bohème and Don Giovanni at English National Opera, The Magic Flute for Garsington Opera at West Green, and the UK national tour of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town. Throughout spring 2013 he conducted English Touring Opera’s new production of Cosi fan tutte and later in the year, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera to assist on the American premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys. James has conducted concerts with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hallé. His recent orchestral engagements have included debuts with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Last season he led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the International Baroque Festival in Malta, and he gave performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Oxford Philomusica. As a former head chorister of the Westminster Abbey Choir, James was later a professional singer working with many of London’s leading professional choirs such as the Monteverdi Choir and The Sixteen. James’s strong choral background has led him to work frequently as a choral conductor. He has enjoyed guest invitations with the Gabrieli Consort, the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir and the BBC Singers, and from 2002-9 he was Choral Director at the Hallé, working closely with Sir Mark Elder. Under his leadership the Hallé Choir and the Hallé Youth Choir, which he founded in 2003, received outstanding critical coverage for their performances and recordings. Their recording of The Dream of Gerontius received the 2009 Gramophone Choral Award. James frequently works with young singers, and he has been conductor of the internationally acclaimed chamber choir Schola Cantorum of Oxford since 2002. They have given prestigious international tours in China, USA, Mexico, Argentina and all over Europe, and have recorded for Hyperion, also appearing frequently on BBCTV and radio. James’s busy schedule as a conductor is supplemented by his work as a composer. His works have been published by Edition Peters and Novello, and commissions have included the music for the 2010 World Equestrian Games opening ceremony, an orchestral album with the folk legend Arlo Guthrie and a large scale work for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. His most recent work was commissioned by London’s National Portrait Gallery as part of its World War I commemorations, and a new carol will be premiered next year by the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. As a pianist and singer, James has recently recorded an album of songs by Cole Porter with soprano Sarah Fox for the Signum label.