Classical music expert, television presenter, writer, director, producer, and impresario Humphrey Burton has long been a regular contributor to our lecture series over many years.
His career in broadcasting has bought him into contact with many of the great artistes of our times. His talks are meticulously researched and always fascinate and entertain by equal measure.
He read music and history at Cambridge, spent a year in France researching music life in the 18th century, before joining BBC Radio as a trainee studio manager in 1955.
He transferred to BBC Tv and in 1958, joined the new arts programme Monitor. He directed many studio programmes and documentaries, working alongside Ken Russell and John Schlesinger among others, rising to the post of editor.
He helped spearhead the BBC's preparation for the opening of BBC-2, launched in April 1964, and the following year was appointed the BBC's first Head of Music and Arts 1965-67. He then worked for eight years in commercial television returning to the BBC as head of Music and Arts. In 1981, aged 50 he resigned from management to concentrate on direction but stayed with the BBC as editor of performance programmes and director of Proms and opera relays from the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, and the Scottish Opera until 1988
He was guest director of the Hollywood Bowl in 1983 and director of Tanglewood's 70th Bernstein Birthday Bash in 1988, and served as Artistic Adviser to the Barbican 1988–91. After Bernstein died in 1990, Burton spent three years in New York researching and writing his biography, Leonard Bernstein 1994. Other musician biographies followed: Yehudi Menuhin 2000 and William Walton - The Romantic Loner which he co-authored with Maureen Murray.) He is also known as a presenter of classical music (for Classic FM and Radio 3). He celebrated his 70th birthday by conducting Verdi's Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall, raising £75,000 for charity. In 2001 he moved to Aldeburgh, where he is President of the Aldeburgh Music Club and has presented eight seasons of Matinees Musicales at the local cinema. In 2011 he mounted a Schubert weekend to mark his 80th birthday.
He has been awarded four Emmies and two Britsh Film and Television Academy Awards, The Royal Television Society's silver medal and a Sony Gold Award. He was awarded the CBE in the Millennium Honours 2000. He is married Swedish radio and TV presenter Christina Hansegård. He has six children.
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