Iain Burnside

Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster. As a performer he is best known for his commitment to the song repertoire, forged through collaborations with leading international singers, including Dame Margaret Price, Susan Chilcott, Galina Gorchakova, Yvonne Kenny, Susan Bickley, David Daniels, John Mark Ainsley and Bryn Terfel. Iain also works with some outstanding younger singers: Lisa Milne, Sally Matthews, Sophie Daneman, Sarah Connolly, Christopher Maltman, William Dazeley, Roderick Williams and Jonathan Lemalu.

Iain’s broadcasting career covers both Radio and TV. As presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Voices programme, he has recently been honoured with a Sony Radio Award. He further combined roles as pianist and presenter in The Music Party for BBC World Service. Other Radio 3 work has featured special celebrations of Dame Janet Baker, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Maria Callas and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. His television involvement includes Cardiff Singer of the World, Leeds International Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician of the Year.

Current recording projects include a series co-produced between BBC’s Voices and Signum, following their acclaimed first release of Tippett with John Mark Ainsley. For Naxos he is recording a number of English songs discs with Roderick Williams; black box recorded Iain in Schoenberg with Sarah Connolly and Williams; Debussy with Lisa Milne and Susan Bickley; and Copland with Susan Chilcott.

A number of organisations have invited Iain to programme concert series: Musique et Poésie, Brussels; the Bath Festival; the International Song Recital Series at London’s South Bank Centre; Leeds Lieder+; and the Finzi Friends’ triennial festival of English Song in Ludlow. His main educational commitment is with singers and pianists at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Other masterclasses include the Juilliard School, New York, and the Banff Centre, Canada. He is a Director of Grange Park Opera.

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010 Nominee

  • Despite the tradition of passing folk songs from generation to the next, aurally, the Irish folk song had lost its importance somewhat in 19th century Ireland, but by the turn of the twentieth-century the revival of Ireland’s native music was coming to a head.

    Belfast-born Herbert Hughes set about collecting and distributing Irish airs. From there he began arranging the melodies for voice and piano, but at a lecture in Dublin pointed out the relationship between the original song, as sung by ‘the peasant, giving voice to an ancient tradition’ and the same song as put into print with a piano accompaniment. This original disc brings together both the old and the new, transforming the traditional folk song into an ‘art-song.’ The 25 folk songs tell of stories both happy and sad and make this disc as much a literary landscape, as a musical one with words by Thomas Moore & James Joyce. Beautifully performed by Ailish Tynan & Iain Burnside.

    Ailish Tynan - Soprano   Iain Burnside - Piano


    Featuring a selection of 
    traditional Irish songs by
    Herbert Hughes
    Johnny Doyle
    She moved thro’ the fair
    The stuttering lovers
    The Spanish Lady
  • Iain Burnside and Ailish Tynan return to Signum with their second disc of Irish Songs and arrangements – this time from a range of different 20th Century composers.

    Although all of the sung texts stem from Irelands rich heritage of literature (including poems from W.B. Yeats, Thomas Moore and James Joyce), the composers featured here have a more transatlantic feel, with works by John Cage and Samuel Barber programmed alongside others by Benjamin Britten and Herbert Hughes.

    This disc continues Burnside’s series of recital discs with Signum – in particular his 2007 disc with Ailish Tynan of Irish songs by Herbert Hughes A Purse of Gold

    “The word 'arrangement' as Burnside suggests, doesn't do justice to the inventive piano writing and pacing of so many of these pieces ... Soprano Ailish Tynan's feeling for the musical idiom and, above all, the poetry of her countrymen, matched by Burnside's delightfully poetic pianism, prove irresistible. Highly recommended"  Classic FM Magazine 

  • 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of the first release from the leading independent classical label Signum Records. Beginning life as an early music specialist (with a landmark release of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis with Chapelle du Roi), Signum has grown since 1997 to a catalogue of over 300 releases across a wide range of genres.  

    In this Art Song collection we bring together performances from across Signum's catalouge by singers including John Mark Ainsley, Sarah Connolly, Philip Langridge, Felicity Lott, Mark Padmore, Andrew Kennedy, Roderick Williams, Ailish Tynan and Hila Plitmann.

  • The second in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und Gesänge, with the luminous collaboration between the tenor, John Mark Ainsley and his accompanist Iain Burnside. Beethoven himself was not a keen song writer, yet despite this almost half of his total works call for a voice. This disc includes some of the best of those compositions.

    John Mark Ainsley is accomplished as both a concert and operatic vocalist, performing at some of the most well renowned venues in the world. As well as having great experience and success as a live artist he also benefits from an extensive discography which covers repertoire from Bach to Stravinsky.

    Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster and is most recognised for his collaborations with leading international singers. This will be Iain's seventh disc with Signum Classics.

  • Ann Murray, Roderick Williams

    with Iain Burnside (piano)

    The first in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und Gesänge. Beethoven himself was not a keen song writer, yet despite this almost half of his total works call for a voice. This disc includes some of the best of those compositions.

    Ann Murray has appeared with some of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors, her discography reflects both her broad concert and operatic repertoire and also her great operatic roles.

    Roderick Williams is active in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from baroque to world premieres. He has performed with all BBC orchestras and other acclaimed ensembles internationally.

    Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster and is most recognised for his collaborations with leading international singers. This will be Iain's sixth disc with Signum Classics.

  • Britten’s extraordinary skill and fluency for setting his native language has sometimes obscured his flair for his settings of foreign poetry; some of his very finest are in German, Latin, Italian and Russian.

    Susan Gritton and Mark Padmore perform these songs with vigour, marvellously accompanied by Iain Burnside and do great justice to songs which many would regard as being the most distinctive and very finest examples of Britten’s art.

    Four French Folksong Arrangements
    for high voice and piano

    1 La Noël passée
    2 Voici le Printemps
    3 Fileuse
    4 Le roi s'en va-t'en chasse

    Um Mitternacht (1960)
    for high voice and piano
    Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente, Op.61
    for tenor and piano
    Texts by Friedrich Hölderlin

    1 Menschebeifall
    2 Die Heimat
    3 Sokrates und Alcibiades
    4 Die Jugend
    5 Halfte des Lebens
    6 Die Linien des Lebens

    Four French Folksong Arrangements
    for high voice and piano

    1 La belle est au jardin d'amour
    2 Il est quelqu'un sur terre
    3 Eho! Eho!
    4 Quand j'étais chez mon père

    Britten’s extraordinary skill and fluency for setting his own native language has sometimes obscured the brilliance with which he embraced a wide range of foreign poetry throughout his career. In fact Britten left a series of exquisite settings, some of his very finest, in French, Italian, Latin, German, Russian, Scot dialect and Medieval English; and the role-call of poets attests to the diversity and sophistication of his literary tastes, including the work of Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, Artur Rimbaud, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Friedrich Hölderlin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander Pushkin, Bertolt Brecht and William Soutar. The earliest of these works (written when Britten was just fourteen) was the Quatre chansons françaises, settings of Hugo and Verlaine for high voice and orchestra, written in the summer of 1928 for his parents’ twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Les Illuminations followed a decade later; Latin settings were a constant throughout his career, for his many liturgical settings and notably in War Requiem and the Cantata misericordium; we find Scots dialect in his Souter settings, Who are these children? and his authentic response to the challenge of early English texts is demonstrated in his mystery-play settings, Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Noye’s Fludde, and profoundly so in one of his very last works, the choral setting of eight medieval English lyrics, Sacred and Profane. But Britten’s settings of Italian, Russian, French and German, performed here by Susan Gritton, Mark Padmore and Iain Burnside are certainly amongst the most distinctive and very finest examples of his art, each fashioned specifically for a much-loved and favoured artist.

    © Dr John Evans

  • Whether from his years touring Europe as a virtuoso pianist or from his later émigré life in Paris and Weimar, Franz Liszt reflects in his song texts his ‘polyglot’ attraction to 19th-Century culture, shown in these setting of French, German, Italian, English, Russian and Hungarian words.



  • Much loved mezzo-soprano, Susan Bickley, and fast-rising stars Ailish Tynan and Andrew Kennedy perform songs written by one of Britain's leading composers, Judith Weir

    With works ranging from minature to epic, these songs showcase the originality and talent of one of music's great storytellers. Superbly accompanied by Iain Burnside, these strong performances masterfully bring together Weir's diverse range of literary and musical influences from many international sources, including China, Africa and Serbia as well as her native Scotland.

  • Sir Michael Tippett's great masterpieces - Boyhood's End and The Heart's Assurance - are coupled here with some of his editions of songs by Henry Purcell, and Benjamin Britten's companion piece to Boyhood's End - Canticle 1. Superbly performed by John Mark Ainsley and Iain Burnside, an added treat is the performance of Tippett and Bergman's edition of Pelham Humfrey's setting of John Donne's A Hymn to God the Father.

    John Mark Ainsley is one of the world's leading tenors. He has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, and has appeared with the San Fransisco Opera, and as Der Daemon in the world premiere of Henze's L'Upupa.

    Iain Burnside has performed with artists including Dame Margaret Price and Susan Chilcott. As a broadcaster he has recently won a Sony Radio Award.

    Remember Your Lovers
    Sir Michael Tippett
    John Mark Ainsley Tenor
    Iain Burnside Piano

  • Erich Korngold is perhaps best known as the pioneering émigré composer whose grand orchestral scores defined the sound of film during the golden age of Hollywood. As well as this though, his output for voice in the form of Lieder and Song highlighted the strong bond that Korngold forever held with his homeland and the city of Vienna, a place inextricably linked to the High-Romantic style that Korngold so ably perfected. This collection of songs and lieder are beautifully performed by Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) and William Dazeley (baritone), accompanied by renowned pianist and broadcaster Iain Burnside. In a feature for BBC Music Magazine in June 2013, Sarah Connolly picked this disc as her favourite recording, saying: "We recorded this in the lovely Potton Hall in East Anglia. I was in very fresh voice, and the producer John West was very encouraging and left me to my own devices. But when listened to the playback I couldn't believe how closely miked I sounded - you could hear the formation of consonantseverythingJohn said 'Don't worry, we've got it in hand, we'll make it sound right.' When listened to the final recording I couldn't believe how clean it sounded. I now use it as an example of how I'd like my voice to sound."
  • Francis George Scott is a key figure in Scotland's musical history. Often referred to as Scotland's Hugo Wolf, his poetic settings draw on material from such writers as Robert Burns and Hugh McDiarmid to convey an extraordinary range of emotions and themes.

    This new recording featuring masterful performances by Lisa Milne, Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside helps to shed light on an often overlooked composer, whose work stems from both the spirit of his national identity and the tradition of the great European song composers.

    Including the works:
    Milkwort and Bog-cotton
    Country Life
    The Eemis Stane
    Amang the Treets
    Ay Waukin, O
    The Man in the Moon
    The Wee Man
    The Watergaw
    Te Deil o Bogie