Trumpet virtuoso, conductor, and composer Stephen Burns is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago, Illinois. With his dynamic, expressive style and multimedia performances, Mr. Burns has been acclaimed on five continents for his dramatic interpretations, innovative programming, and imaginative musicianship. Winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Burns is an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient and Maurice André International Competition 1st Grand Prix Lauréat. He has performed in the major concert halls of New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, Quebec, Tokyo, Paris, and Venice. Mr. Burns has been a featured guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, NBC’s Today Show, and at the White House. He has guest conducted at the Aspen Festival, the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MUSIC NOW ensemble, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, among others. As Artistic Director of Fulcrum Point, and its sibling organization The American Concerto Orchestra, Mr. Burns is a champion of new art music that is influenced by popular culture, art, dance, literature, religion, and social dynamics.
He has given numerous premiers of works by American composers (Ned Rorem, David Stock, Gunther Schuller, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Philip Glass, Julian Wachner, and Mischa Zupko) as well as composers of international renown (Louis Andriessen, Magnus Lindberg, Somei Satoh, Aulis Sallinen, and Karlheinz Stockhausen). Committed to new music, Mr. Burns has composed works for electronic music, chamber music, and symphony orchestra. The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago commissioned him to compose “Wake Up, Y’all” as part of their Allora/Calzadilla installation. “Fanfare for Humanity” was commissioned for the Chicago Humanities Festival. His composition “Reflections,” created in collaboration with choreographer Ruby Shang, was premiered at Lincoln Center. “Cat and Rat: the Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” is a feature work for pipa virtuoso Yang Wei, and is based on the children’s book by Caldecott Award winning author and illustrator Ed Young.
His recordings include Telemann for Trumpet with the American Concerto Orchestra, on Dorian Recordings; The Complete Sonatas for Brass by Paul Hindemith, on Helicon Records; The Complete Brandenburg Concerti with Helmuth Rilling, on Hänssler Classics; and Trumpet Voluntary, on ASV Records. He has also recorded for Kleos, Naxos, Musical Heritage Society, Delos, Classical Masters, Essay and Grammavision.
Originally from Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, Mr. Burns studied under Armando Ghitalla, Gerard Schwarz, Pierre Thibaud, and Arnold Jacobs at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Julliard School (Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, 1981-1982), as well as in Paris and Chicago for post-graduate studies. Sought after internationally for master classes, Mr. Burns is a former tenured Professor of Music at Indiana University and Visiting Lecturer at Northwestern University, the Merit Music School, and the Amici della Musica in Firenze, Italy.
He resides in Chicago with his wife, school psychologist, Katherine Neisser, their twin sons, Edward and Isaac, along with Thibaud their French bulldog.