Samuel Burstin was born in London to a musical mother and music-loving father. He learned violin, piano and saxophone as a child, and sang as solo chorister at the Temple Church. He joined the National Youth Orchestra as a violist and went on to study the instrument with Richard Crabtree, and conducting with Peter Stark and Gregory Rose, at Trinity Laban (1999-2004). After a year with the Southbank Sinfonia, he joined the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2005. He has played as Principal Viola with eight major orchestras across Britain and in New Zealand.
Sam’s love of music, and his desire to use it as a force for good, led to him founding the Paradisal Players in 2011. The orchestra performs heavenly music for wonderful causes, to date raising over £100,000 for charities. It also gave Sam valuable conducting experience. In 2014 he entered the prestigeous Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in Paris, where his prize-winning performances of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France were described as “unfailingly musical”. That success led to his Russian debut the following year, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra with the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra in Kazan. In 2016 he was appointed Music Director of the Orchestra of De Montfort University in Leicester, whom he recently led in Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony. In January 2017 he made his Philharmonia conducting debut in a programme of light music at Brasserie Zédel in London.
Sam has conducted several of London’s fine amateur orchestras, including the Ernest Read Symphony whose concerts he attended as a child. He is often invited to coach viola and string classes at Trinity Laban, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, where he has prepared the orchestra in works by Elgar, Strauss and Mahler for Edward Gardner, Christian Thielemann and Semyon Bychkov. This year he tutored the violas of the National Youth Orchestras of both Great Britain and New Zealand. Sam is married to the Slovenian pianist Ana Sinkovec Burstin, with whom he has two young daughters.