Clemency Burton-Hill

Clemency Burton-Hill: From Underground Garage DJ in London To Creative Director At WQXR

*Please note: Clemency is on long-term medical leave.

What’s the difference between a resolution in a Bach sonata and a beat dropped by a DJ in a club? According to Clemency Burton-Hill, not much! Clemmie has always been equally obsessed with classical, hip-hop, funk, jazz, and Motown — a blend of genres that she never viewed as eclectic at all. She first became captivated by classical music at age two when a television program featuring a violinist left her begging her mom for a violin of her own. By the time she was a teenager, Clemmie was actively pursuing a career as a professional violinist, but she had also invested in a pair of Technics 1210s and devoted her spare hours to spinning everything from Miami funk to old classical vinyl. 

For Clemmie, music is about emotional connection. The feeling of bliss she had gigging as an underground garage DJ in London is the same as when she listens to a Bach sonata — no matter the label, it’s all just music. (“You don’t have to earn your right to a genre. You don’t need to be an expert or have some elusive privilege in order to be let in. The music is yours for the taking, all you have to do is sit back and let it wash over you,” she says.) As WQXR’s former Creative Director, this is precisely the experience Clemmie cultivates for listeners every day. Her passion for curating meaningful emotional journeys through music drives her every decision, and her warm and welcoming personality serves as an invitation to all — a proclamation of the inherent humanity we all share and the myriad joys we can experience together through the universal language of music.

Clemency Burton-Hill appears in the following:

Recovering From A Brain Injury

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

We discuss the recovery process for those with brain injuries, and what systemic changes could help patients who survived brain injuries.

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‘I tried to speak, then the world went dark’ 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Six months ago, a bleed on the brain left our host and Creative Director Clemency Burton-Hill unable to see, talk or walk. She tells how her brush with death made her determined to live.
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Re-Play: Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason Play Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and More

Thursday, August 06, 2020

WQXR takes you to Carnegie Hall once again with a series of re-broadcasts during the summer, every Thursday from July 9 through October 1, 9pm

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Re-Play: Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Live from Carnegie Hall

Thursday, July 23, 2020

WQXR takes you to Carnegie Hall once again with a series of re-broadcasts during the summer, every Thursday from July 9 through October 1, 9pm

Comments [7]

RE-PLAY: Carnegie Hall's Opening Night 2019 with the Cleveland Orchestra in Beethoven, Strauss, and Nicolai

Thursday, July 09, 2020

WQXR takes you to Carnegie Hall once again with a series of re-broadcasts during the summer, every Thursday from July 9 through October 1

Comments [1]

IN CONVERSATION – With Time For Three

Friday, April 24, 2020

This week our host and artistic director Clemency Burton-Hill is in conversation with the members of the genre defying ensemble and "classically trained garage band" Time For Three. 

BONUS: Tom Hiddleston on The Nutcracker

Friday, December 20, 2019

Actor Tom Hiddleston reminisces about his childhood love of The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky and reveals the part it still plays in his life.

30. Esther Perel on Peace

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Relationship therapist and podcaster Esther Perel reflects upon Gabriel Fauré's Requiem and what it has taught her about the power of music to connect us to our rawest emotions.

29. Krystal Hawes on Imperfection

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Radio producer Krystal Hawes explores the perfect imperfection of Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte.

28. Dessa on Patience

Monday, October 07, 2019

Rapper Dessa discusses how the craft and emotion of Bach's Chaconne in D minor resonates through her life and work, revealing dynamic connections between classical and rap music.

27. Jesse Eisenberg on History

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Actor Jesse Eisenberg talks about how a trip to Poland led him to discover not only more about his family history, but the music of Chopin, in particular the Etude Opus 10, No. 1.

26. Christopher Wheeldon on A Journey

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon gives moving insight into his long and inspiring journey with the music of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto.

25. Megan Reid on What Changed My Life

Friday, October 04, 2019

TV producer Megan Reid talks about Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel helped spark a lifelong obsession with ballet.

24. Terrance McKnight on Overcoming Adversity

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Broadcaster Terrance McKnight links family, art, a late Beethoven piano bagatelle, and the extraordinary poetry of Langston Hughes.

23. Justin Jackson on Imagination

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Preschool art teacher Justin Jackson explains how he uses Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King to inspire the creativity and imagination of his schoolchildren.

22. Alison Stewart on Just Letting Go

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Journalist Alison Stewart talks about how Erik Satie's Gymnopédies helped her find solace in playing the piano as an adult, and how the music helps her “let go”.

21. Daniel Libeskind on Perspective

Monday, September 30, 2019

Architect Daniel Libeskind reflects on the healing power of music and architecture and reveals his lifelong obsession with the dazzling Toccata and Fugue by JS Bach.

'The Open Ears Project'

Monday, September 30, 2019

Clemency Burton-Hill, creative director of WQXR, joins us to discuss the station’s new project, “Open Ears,” in which real people tell a story every day about a classical music track.


20. Jacqui Cheng on Resolution

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Digital strategist Jacqui Cheng shares how she discovered the music of Bach via her 1980s Atari habit, but it’s the Violin Sonata No. 1 that helps walk her through a period of grief.

19. Wynton Marsalis on Time and Consciousness

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis discusses how Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 helped him understand the role of music in connecting the past and the future.