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John Burrows

Musical director

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A native of England, John Burrows co-founded the Lyric Opera of Dallas, and for a decade served as the company’s Artistic Director. He presided over 25 productions — from Mozart and Rossini, to Offenbach and Bernstein. Critical response was enthusiastic, praising Burrows for “fluid, beautifully paced, energetic, and lyrical” productions, and for “the highest Gilbert and Sullivan standards in the Western hemisphere” (Dallas Morning News). He was also hailed as “an exemplary Rossinian” by Texas Monthly, a credit reinforced by the New York Times, which extolled his “knowing direction” of the U.S. première of Rossini’s Elizabetta Regina d'Inghilterra.

John Burrows has appeared as Guest Conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Theatre of San Antonio, OperaDelaware, Nevada Opera, Cleveland Lyric Opera, Opera Northeast, The Savoy Company and The American Music Theatre Festival. Venues have included London’s Royal Albert and Queen Elizabeth Halls and Barbican Centre, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music and Merriam Theatre, and New York City’s Kaye Playhouse. 

For twelve seasons, John Burrows prepared productions for the English National Opera, and was the prompter for the legendary Ring Cycle at the London Coliseum under Sir Reginald Goodall. He was the studio conductor for several operas produced by BBC Television, and his broadcast experience extended into composing, writing musical arrangements for – and even appearing in – a number of Masterpiece Theatre productions. In 1997-98, he returned to the broadcast world as a part-time producer for National Public Radio on Performance Today, and his expertise was called upon in a live interview on NPR in connection with the Oscar Award-winning movie, Topsy Turvy. He has written articles for Classical Singer and For A Change magazines, and composed the liner notes for Uwe Steimetz's setting of Bonhoeffer's Stations on the Road to Freedom released on the Musicom label (2005).

In November 2008, John Burrows returned to New York City as Musical Director of Kurt to Colestarring Midge Woolsey at the Neue Galerie (Cafe Sabarsky). In June 2009, he gave a Masterclass for The Voice Foundation at their 38th Annual Symposium in Philadelphia and in May 2010 he conducted Ruddigore in Philadelphia's historic Academy of Music.

John Burrows has always maintained a strong interest in the training of young professional singers and actors. He headed the opera departments at Southern Methodist and Temple Universities, and played important roles in the education programs of the Welsh National Opera, the London Opera Centre, the Academy of Vocal Arts, the University of the Arts, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Centre Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence and the Apprentice Program of Des Moines Metro Opera. In 2005, he was a judge for The Classical Singer Voice Competition in New York City. 

During his residency in Washington, DC (1996-99), John Burrows wrote and musically directed three productions for the In-Series presented on the campus of George Washington University. In the Washington Post, reviewers noted his “expert guidance” of Ein Berliner Kabarett in 1996, his “spirited and precise” musical direction of Mozart's Men in 1998, and the “clever” use of Coward’s and Porter’s material in his 1999 revue, Noel and Cole. In November, 2007, he returned to Washington DC to direct a revival of Noel and Cole at the Tivoli Theatre.

When based in England, John Burrows was a highly sought-after conductor in London’s West End. He was the Musical Director of A Chorus Line at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, conducting over 250 performances, and the original Musical Director of two long-running Mermaid Theatre revues, Cowardy Custard and Cole. These were commercially recorded by RCA.