James Burton >
(conducting scholar) >
Born in London, James Burton is one the country’s leading choral conductors. He has conducted professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the OAE, the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir and the BBC Singers, and he has vast experience working with amateur and young singers. James was Choral Director at the Hallé from 2002-9, and under his leadership the Hallé Choir and the Hallé Youth Choir, which he founded in 2003, received outstanding critical coverage for their performances. Their recording of Elgar The Dream of Gerontius received the 2009 Gramophone choral award. James has been the Music Director of Schola Cantorum of Oxford since 2002, and together they have given concerts all over the world, countless choral recitals in Oxford and all over the UK, released acclaimed choral recordings on Hyperion Records and appeared on broadcasts and films for the BBC.
James began singing in choirs at an early age and went on to become head chorister at Westminster Abbey. He was a choral scholar at St John’s College Cambridge where he read music, and he holds a Master’s in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory where his teachers were Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier.
Alongside his choral work, James’ conducting especially encompasses opera. Next season he will give his ENO debut with Don Giovanni, and his ETO debut with Cosi fan tutte. James recently conducted The Magic Flute for Garsington Opera at West Green and a national tour of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town starring Connie Fisher. He will return to the Metropolitan Opera to assist on the American premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys in 2013. James has recently worked at the Opera National de Paris, and he spent several seasons assisting major productions at ENO and also at Garsington, where he was the recipient of the 2008 Leonard Ingrams Award for outstanding work with the company. James has collaborated with many professional orchestras and in recent seasons has given concerts with the Hallé, the OAE, the RLPO and Oxford Philomusica. His current plans include return invitations to conduct concerts with the OAE and Oxford Philomusica, and in 2013 he will give his seventh series of concerts as Music Director of the St Endellion Easter Festival in Cornwall.
James is passionate about working with young musicians, and as well as Schola Cantorum he has conducted many of the country’s finest youth ensembles, including the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Genesis Sixteen, Laudibus, RNCM Symphony, Oxford University Orchestra, Manchester University Orchestra and Chorus and the Hallé Youth Orchestra. He is the founder director of the RNCM Chamber Choir and recently conducted the debut concert by the RNCM’s Symphony Chorus.
Alongside his conducting work, James has built a considerable portfolio of compositions. He recently completed a major setting of Thomas Hardy’s The Convergence of the Twain for baritone, chorus and orchestra. James conducted the premiere at the 2012 St Endellion Festival, a few days before the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster which inspired Hardy’s poem. In 2010 James was commissioned to write the theme music and fanfare for the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games, which was broadcast worldwide. On Christmas Night, a carol for chorus and orchestra, was given its premiere by the Hallé Orchestra and Choir in December 2011, and another carol setting, Balulalow, has recently been released on Chandos sung by the choir of St John’s College Cambridge, and was published earlier this year.
"James Burton inspires Oxford's classy intercollegiate choir to realise a masterpiece in Randall Thompson's The Peaceable Kingdom … the bright, lithe sopranos are absolutely together … the stimulating rhythms, exquisite tuning, rich word painting and constant attention to imaginative dynamics make this an outstanding performance.”
The Times, October 2008
Solomon is currently the Senior Davidge Organ Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford and a Jardine Foundation Scholar in his final year reading a degree in Engineering Science. He was a music scholar at Harrow School and The King’s School, Parramatta, and continues to study the organ with Steven Grahl at New College and singing with David Crown at Somerville College. During his tenure as Organ Scholar, Solomon has directed Trinity’s chapel choir and overseen tours to Vienna, Barcelona and Paris, with performances in Stephansdom, Peterskirche, Karlskirche, Barcelona Cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, St Eustache and Notre Dame Cathedral, as well as the appointment of Ralph Allwood MBE to the newly created post of music advisor to the College. He also directed evensong appearances at Southwark and Ely Cathedrals in UK and a CD of Christmas Carols, which will be available on sale come the new academic year. He will tour again with the choir to Italy in 2013. Recently, he has seen conducting engagements with Trinity College Orchestra, Turl Street Orchestra, Wesley Memorial Church Choir, Fidelio Orchestra and University College Chorus in Oxford. He was also a violist of Hong Kong Festival Orchestra and Oxford Philharmonia. In 2012, Solomon was appointed Schola Cantorum’s second conducting scholar, a role which he is greatly looking forward to. After graduation, he hopes to pursue further study at a music conservatory.
James Burton, conductor