Composer and conductor Ken Burton started his musical training at a very young age, playing piano, descant and alto recorder, violin and steel pans in his primary school and at church. He then entered Trinity School, with its acclaimed boys choir, for whom he played on a number of occasions. After his schooling, Ken pursued his BMus degree at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, and undertook professional development studies in music education, specialising in vocal coaching.
As a performer, Ken has conducted, played, sung and made many radio and television appearances at all the leading U.K. venues, as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Australia. On an orchestral level, Ken has conducted the London Mozart Players, and members of the RPO and RLPO.
Ken’s choral activities began when he was nine years old, by accompanying the Croydon SDA Youth Choir (now the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir), and at fifteen directing the choir. Choral activities became a more integral part of Ken’s musical life, and he was accompanist for the Goldsmiths’ College Chorus, and singer in the Goldsmiths’ Chamber Choir. After completing his initial studies, Ken was appointed chorus master of the Goldsmiths’ Chorus, and, subsequently Musical Director of the Goldsmiths’ Chamber Choir. In 1990, Ken was invited to join Derek Hoyte as director of the London Adventist Chorale. He has enjoyed success in a number of competitions and awards, namely 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 enjoyed first place in local music festivals.
As a recording musician, Ken’s activities have been extensive. His first recording was with Gospel band, Ekklesia, in 1986, with an album release mostly containing Ken’s original pieces. Further recordings have been made with choirs and bands. Among them are 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; Graham Kendrick’s Rumours 0f Angels, and Illuminations, Southampton Community Gospel Choir’s Southern Praise (a commission). Ken is continually working on a number of projects.
Radio and television broadcasts have been numerous, not only in the U.K. but all over the world. Ken has conducted, performed, interviewed, and had his compositions of his own played on television and radio stations in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, America, and Australia.
Workshop activities are also very regular events for Ken. His workshops are in demand around the world, in Europe, America, The Caribbean and Africa.
As a composer, his music is published by Faber Music. Currently, there are two volumes of arrangements for choir, the first – the best selling –‘Feel the Spirit’, and the second, released in the new Millennium ‘Good News’. A third SATB volume will be available soon. In 1997, he was commissioned to write a Gospel work for the Southampton Community Gospel Choir. This was entitled Southern Praise, and the work received both television and radio coverage, as well as being recorded and released on CD. Ken’s compositions cover a broad range of musical styles and types, including orchestral, band, solo vocal works ranging from 17th century through to 20th century idiom, a cappella choral cantatas, jingles, and many more.
As an educator, Ken has led and continues to lead many workshops, seminars and lectures in concert halls, schools, colleges, universities, churches and to private choral groups, on an international level. In the course of his career, Ken has also served as head of music at a north London church school.
Currently, Ken teaches performance to students 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 0f 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.
A Song in the Air
Advent Songs - Volume 1: How Far From Home?
Advent Songs - Volume 2: We Are Nearing Home
Love Without End
Sounds of Gospel
Steal Away - Spirituals and Gospel Songs
Up Above My Head
- 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