James Burton is the next Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, an appointment that takes effect immediately in conjunction with this week’s Andris Nelsons-led Boston Symphony performances of Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor, February 2-7, for which Mr. Burton prepared the chorus. In addition, Mr. Burton takes on the newly established title of BSO Choral Director, a role in which he will explore new opportunities to enhance the orchestra’s choral activities. The appointment of Mr. Burton to the position of BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is the result of a search that began in summer 2015, when a committee of TFC members, Boston Symphony musicians, BSO staff, and a representative from the BSO’s Board of Trustees, was convened and charged with appointing the next chorus director, under the guidance of Mr. Nelsons. Mr. Burton is only the second conductor to be appointed director of the TFC since its founding in 1970; he follows in the footsteps of John Oliver, founder and director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus from 1970-2015, who currently holds the title Founder and Conductor Laureate.
Andris Nelsons said: ‘Together with my wonderful BSO colleagues, I am very honored to celebrate the appointment of James Burton as the next Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. We are excited to have found such an inspiring and unique person to lead the BSO’s special chorus, and proud to continue the incredible legacy of TFC Founder and Conductor Laureate John Oliver.
‘James has an extraordinary ear for vocal balance and blend. His immense understanding of the numerous different languages of the chorus’s repertoire, and instincts with all musical styles, are just a few of his many gifts. He has greatly impressed us all with his ability to inspire the chorus and communicate his ideas so effectively regarding both technique and music interpretation. Finally, we all so appreciate James’ collaborative spirit in all his work, sharing his enthusiasm and passion for music with all of us. We all join him in our goal to bring our very best music-making to our wonderful audiences, who have always shown so much admiration and kind support to our all-volunteer chorus.