Clemency Burton-Hill

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Clemency Burton-Hill
Clemency Burton-Hill 2.jpg
Burton-Hill at the Hay Festival, Wales, 2018
Clemency Margaret Greatrex Burton

(1981-07-01) 1 July 1981 (age 38)
London, England
Other namesClemmie Burton-Hill; Clemmie Roscoe
EducationSt Paul's Girls' School
Westminster School
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge
OccupationBroadcaster, author, novelist, journalist, violinist and former actress
Years active1992–present
James Roscoe (m. 2008)
Children2 sons

Clemency Burton-Hill (born Clemency Margaret Greatrex Burton-Hill, born 1 July 1981) is an English broadcaster, author, novelist, journalist and violinist. In her early career she also worked as an actress.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Burton-Hill was born in London, on 1 July 1981, the daughter of the BBC's first head of music and arts, Humphrey Burton and Gillian Hawser, an agent. The couple were never married and Burton-Hill did not grow up with her father.[2]

She held scholarships at St Paul's Girls' School and Westminster School before reading English at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where she took a Double First. Burton-Hill is also a former scholar at the Royal College of Music, where she was the recipient of the Hugh Bean Violin Prize.[citation needed]


Burton-Hill began her broadcasting career in 2008 as a member of the live television presenting team at the Proms for BBC Four and BBC Two. She has continued to present at the Proms since then, interviewing major artists including Philip Glass, Joshua Bell, Marin Alsop, Quincy Jones and Daniel Barenboim. Since 2015 she has presented coverage of the Last Night of The Proms. She has been the television host of the BBC's biannual competition BBC Young Musician since 2010.

In 2009 Burton-Hill began presenting BBC Radio 3's classical music weekend breakfast programme. In December 2013, she replaced Sara Mohr-Pietsch as the co-presenter of Radio 3's weekday Breakfast programme.[3] She has also presented a wide range of other programmes for the network, including live concerts, a weekly broadcast from Wigmore Hall, and the New Generation Artists strand, which supports emerging international artists early in their career.

She has also written and presented a number of critically acclaimed music documentaries on BBC television including Stradivarius and Me, and Who’s Yehudi, which celebrated the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin, with whom she also took violin lessons as a teenager.

Between 2009 and the show ending in 2015 she was the performing arts reporter for The Culture Show on BBC Two television, presenting more than 30 films about classical music, opera, jazz, theatre and books.

Since 2015, Burton-Hill has been hosting the Royal Opera House’s cinema relays, broadcasting live to over 1,000 cinemas around the globe, and she is a regular host of their 'Insights' education programme, broadcasting to a live audience and on YouTube.

In May 2018, Burton-Hill took on the newly-created role of Creative Director, Music and Arts, at WQXR-FM in New York, the leading classical radio station in the United States.[4]

Journalism and writing[edit]

Burton-Hill's first job in journalism was as a staff writer at Vogue and she has since written for many major UK publications, including The Economist, The FT Weekend, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, Elle, and The Mail on Sunday. Her subjects range from the arts to artificial intelligence. She has been the music columnist for BBC Culture[5] since 2013 and is BBC Music Magazine's chief interviewer. She was previously the UK's youngest broadsheet columnist, at The Daily Telegraph; a contributing editor for The Spectator; and a columnist at Total Politics and The Liberal magazines.

In January 2009 Burton-Hill's first novel, The Other Side of the Stars, was published by Headline Review, a division of Hodder Headline. She then signed a new two-book deal with Headline, and All The Things You Are was published in October 2013.[6]

In October 2017 her first non-fiction book, Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day was published, by Headline Home, also a division of Hodder Headline. The book has since been sold around the world, and the United States edition was published in November 2018 by Harper Wave, a division of Harper Collins.

Live events[edit]

Clemency is a frequent host of live events, panels and debates for organisations such as the Hay Festival and Intelligence Squared, regularly appearing at major arts venues including the Barbican Centre, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, the National Theatre and Old Vic Theatre.


Clemency began playing the violin in childhood, studying with Helen Brunner and Rodney Friend. She has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist, in some of the world's leading concert halls, including La Scala, Milan, the Musikverein, Vienna, London's Barbican Hall and Boston Symphony Hall. She has toured with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, as an honorary violinist. In 2005 Burton-Hill co-founded the multi award-winning chamber ensemble, Aurora Orchestra.


Between 1997 and 2007 Burton-Hill worked as an actress in film and television productions, appearing in Dream Team (1997–98), The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000), Midsomer Murders (2004), Supernova (2005), Hustle (2006), and playing the regular role of Sophie Montgomery in Party Animals (2007), in which her cast-mates included Matt Smith, Andrea Riseborough and Andrew Buchan.


On the 2015 Children In Need special edition of the BBC show Only Connect, she appeared alongside David Baddiel and Philip Hensher in the "Music Monkeys" team playing against team "Chess Pieces" made up of Bonnie Greer, Hugh Dennis and A.N.Wilson.[7] She appeared on Pointless Celebrities in December 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Burton-Hill married James Roscoe, a British diplomat, in 2008. The couple moved to New York in 2009 where Roscoe was posted to the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York and returned to London in 2013.[2] They have two sons.

Burton-Hill is a trustee of the children's education charity Dramatic Need.[8]


Year Film Role Notes
1992 Emily's Ghost Kelly
1993 The Higher Mortals Melissa
1997 Dream Team Georgina Jacobs
The Promise Elizabeth Gage
2000 The Last of the Blonde Bombshells Young Vera
Hit List Nicky
2002 Until Death Emma Oldfield
2005 Midsomer Murders Hettie Trent
La Femme Musketeer Marie Mancini
2005 Supernova (TV movie) Ginny McKillip
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God Melora
A Higher Agency Anna
2006 Party Animals Sophie Montgomery
Hustle Melissa DeMonfort
The Prince and Me 2: The Royal Wedding Princess Kirsten direct-to-video
2007 The Palace Alice Templeton
Shoot on Sight Pamela Davies
The Wreck Isabelle
2008 Agatha Christie: Poirot Claudia Reece-Holland 1 episode
Kis Vuk Arabella voice
2009 Shadows in the Sun Isabelle
Elegy Mother completed
Vivaldi Laura Padovan post-production
2010 Dark Relic Rebecca


  1. ^ "My week – Clemency Burton-Hill". The Observer. 21 January 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b Curtis, Nick (9 July 2014). "Radio presenter, novelist, musician and actress... welcome to the court of Clemency Burton-Hill". Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  3. ^ Mark Sweney "Radio 3 breakfast show to be presented by Clemency Burton-Hill",, 31 October 2013
  4. ^ "New York Public Radio Names Clemency Burton-Hill Creative Director, Music & Arts". WQXR. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ "BBC Culture". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  6. ^ "All The Things You Are". ISBN 9780755358267. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Children in Need: Music Monkeys v Chess Pieces" at BBC Programmes
  8. ^ Charity Commission. Dramatic Need, registered charity no. 1119443.

External links[edit]