Ben Burton

Ben Burton started playing piano at age 8, and drum kit at age 9, in England.  When he moved to Ireland at age 11 I started private drum kit lessons with Shaun Forde in Togher, and at 12 took up piano lessons with Tom O’Hare (County Cork VEC, Kinsale).  He won scholarships with the VEC, joining the County Cork VEC Youth Orchestra at age 13 in the percussion section.

At 15 he took up orchestral timpani & percussion lessons with Jimmy Hynes (CCVEC, Ballincollig), and additional private lessons with Alex Petcu in Cork, including solo marimba.  Lessons stopped when he passed grade 8, aged 16 for piano, and 17 for drum kit and percussion.

He continued marimba lessons until he moved to London to study Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music in 2011.In addition to CCVEC Youth Orchestra he regularly rehearsed and played timpani & percussion with Clonakilty Brass Band and Blarney Brass & Reed Band under Gerard Condon. On a one-off basis he played with Cork Youth Orchestra, University of Limerick Orchestra, and Flint Youth Orchestra (visiting from USA), and for amateur musical productions of Mary Poppins, Grease, Scrooge and Hairspray. And, each year since 2009, he has played with the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble.

In the academic year 2010-2011 he took a gap year between completing his Leaving Cert and going on to further education. During this year he began teaching piano and drum kit to young beginners.  He also successfully auditioned for a place to study at the Royal Academy of music in London, where he is about to enter his 2nd year, and is being taught by timpanists and percussionists from internationally renowned orchestras. In addition to music activities, rehearsals and concerts with the RAM, during his first year in London he also played in concerts with Kings College of London Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, and also for the musical The Wedding Singer. 

Now back in Ireland for the summer break, he has started teaching piano and percussion again; one of his pupils is a member of Clonakilty Brass Band. He will also join the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble for rehearsals and a concert in August. Playing in Clonakilty Brass Band under Ger Condon played a big part in his development as a musician. The regular gigs also meant he got a lot of experience in performing in front of audiences.  He has always enjoyed Ger’s choices of music; his enthusiasm for it is infectious, inspiring all the band members to play at their highest level.  Ger Condon’s style of conducting also helps him to achieve the best results from the band.  Watching him at work as a conductor has made him keen to include conducting in his own studies during the coming year. He will leave the RAM in 2015, and hopes to be lucky enough to earn a living in percussion performance. His love of popular music, and his experiences of playing in the band, has led to an ambition to play for a West End show, or be part of a touring show.  And, now that his appreciation for orchestral music is maturing, another aspiration is to be the principal timpanist (or percussionist) of a professional orchestra anywhere in the world.