As choir trainer and choral director, from groups of just a few voices to large-scale choral societies, as composer and arranger of a wide range of music for public choral performance, recordings, television and radio broadcasts and films, the British-born Ken Burton is now established as one of the leading figures in choral music in the world.
Ken Burton was destined for a musical career from quite a young age - playing the piano, descant and alto recorder, violin and steel pans in his primary school and in church. His choral activities began at nine years of age, accompanying the Croydon SDA Youth Choir (now, the Croydon SDA Gospel 0Choir), and at fifteen directing the choir. Choral activities became a more integral part of Ken's musical life on entering the Trinity School, with its acclaimed boys' choir, for whom he played on a number of occasions. Later, Ken pursued his BMus degree at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, undertaking professional development studies in music education and specialising in vocal coaching.
He was accompanist for the Goldsmiths' College Chorus and was a member of the Goldsmiths' Chamber Choir. On completing his initial studies, Ken was appointed chorus master of the Goldsmiths' Chorus and Music Director of the Goldsmiths' Chamber Choir.
As a performer, Ken has conducted, played and sung in very many radio and television appearances; in 1990, he was invited to join Derek Hoyte as director of the London Adventist Chorale, with whom he has enjoyed significant success in a number of major competitions, including the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year, won by the London Adventist Chorale in 1994, with the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir in second place out of a total of 306 Choirs.
The London Adventist Chorale was also voted BBC UK Gospel Choir of the year in 1995 and the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir has subsequently won first place in a number of music festivals.
He has conducted, performed, and had his own music broadcast on television and radio throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, America and Australia.
As a recording musician, Ken's activities have been extensive. His first album was with the Gospel band Ekklesia in 1986, the release mostly containing Ken's original pieces. Further recordings have included the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir's Until We Reach, Perfect Love, and The Very Best of Gospel; the London Adventist Chorale's Deep River and Steal Away with Graham Kendrick's Rumours of Angels and Illuminations.
Ken's compositions, published by Faber Music, cover a wide range of musical styles and types: orchestral, band, solo vocal works (from 17th- to 21st-century idioms), a cappella choral cantatas and jingles. There are also several volumes of arrangements for choir. A major Gospel work Southern Praise commissioned for the Southampton Community Gospel Choir, received television and radio coverage before being recorded and released on CD under Ken's direction.
Ken teaches at John Ruskin College in Greater London, directs the chamber choir at Goldsmiths' College University of London, adjudicates for competitions, including the BBC Television series 'Choir Of The Year' and is musical director and orchestrator for several television programmes, including the BBC series, 'Songs of Praise'.
No cuts or alterations of any kind should be made to this biography without the consent of Ken Burton.
Ken Burton events
11 November 2019: Warsztaty Gospel z Kenem Burtonem – Filharmonia Śląska.
international Gospel Workshop and Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Joint Music School in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.
Event website >
- BBC Prom 6, Gospel Prom, Albert Hall, 19 July 2016
"Most riveting for me was Ken Burton's "No Man Could Number", inspired by the Book of Revelation, sung with superb tight rhythm by the Superchoir of five choirs and groups formed specially for the occasion."
- Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph, 20 July 2016
"... the demure harmonies of the London Adventist Chorale ..."
"... Ken Burton's London Adventist Chorale provided the few moments of introspection on an arrangement of Going Home."
"Later, Burton returned to lead the voices of the combined choirs through his pungent arrangement of a text from Revelation. If only we could have had more in that vein."
- Clive Davis, The Times, 20 July 2016