Mar 26

Humphrey Burton CBE

Humphrey Burton, CBE (born 25 March 1931) is a British classical music presenter, broadcaster, director, producer, and biographer of musicians.

Born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, he attended The Judd School, Tonbridge before reading music and history at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and joined the BBC in 1955. He directed many programmes and documentaries and was made BBC Television’s first Head of Music and Arts 1965-67. He then worked for eight years in commercial television co-founding London Weekend Television, where he edited and presented ITV’s award-winning arts series Aquarius, the inspiration for the South Bank Show. He returned to the BBC until 1981.

In the 1970s, at the request of Leonard Bernstein, he began an association with the famous composer-conductor, making documentaries and filmed concerts in which Bernstein both conducted and/or offered commentary. These were produced for Unitel. One of them, Beethoven’s Birthday: A Celebration in Vienna, was first telecast on CBS and won an Emmy in 1972.

After leaving the BBC he worked in the USA and Europe as director or programme presenter in classical music, opera, ballet, documentaries and music competitions.

He has written biographies of Leonard Bernstein and Yehudi Menuhin.

He has been awarded four Emmies and two British 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 has three daughters and three sons. Harry Burton, aka Matthew Burton, is an actor and director. Lukas Burton is a record producer. Helena Burton is an artist.Clemency Burton-Hill is a violinist, journalist and actress.

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