Harlem NY-born Reynard Burns’ (b. 1946) prolific career includes work as a composer, arranger, and educator, as well as a bassist and guest conductor for several orchestra festivals. His compositions for full and string orchestra, wind ensemble, concert band, jazz ensemble, improvising strings, and other combinations have been performed throughout the United States and abroad, with his orchestral works receiving national recognition, most notably Flying, which was performed by the Long Island Philharmonic in a program honoring American composers. His jazz string quarter, Rey Burns’ Crossroad, has performed at various jazz festivals and has recorded two albums of Burns’ music, featuring notable jazz violinist John Blake Jr.
Studying and performing on piano played a decisive role on his future as a musician. Learning to play double bass provided opportunities and experiences that brought about entry into New York’s Music and Art High School.
His 34 years as a public school orchestra director provided the opportunity to compose and arrange music for various groups and styles. Keeping up to date with the changing music scene meant writing in multiple styles, including jazz and pop. Since retiring from public school teaching, Burns has continued composing and arranging for a wide variety of instrument combinations and styles. His efforts and achievements in such areas as jazz strings and string orchestra are representative of the focus of his publishing company, Reynard Burns Publishing, Inc. In addition, Burns often gives lectures and hosts workshops that focus on the classical music of composers of African descent.