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Ken Burns

Historian & Award-Winning Filmmaker

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 Ken Burns Biography

For more than thirty years Ken Burns and his collaborators have produced and directed some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.

Burns' works are treasure troves of archival materials; he skillfully utilizes period music and footage, photographs, periodicals and ordinary people's correspondence, the latter often movingly read by seasoned professional actors in a deliberate attempt to get away from a "Great Man" approach to history. Like most non-fiction filmmakers, Burns wears many hats on his projects, often serving as writer, cinematographer, editor and music director in addition to producing and directing. He achieved his apotheosis with The Civil War (1990), a phenomenally popular 11-hour documentary that won two Emmy Awards and broke all previous ratings records for public TV.

Following the success of The Civil War, Burns then made a combination of single films, miniseries, and extended series, including the epics Baseball (1994), which won an Emmy, and Jazz (2001). Burns’s later docu-series included The War (2007),The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2009),The Tenth Inning (2010), The Address (2014), The Vietnam War (2017), and more.

Burns frequently employed the distinctive voices of well-known actors in the narration of his films and twice collaborated on scores with jazz musician Wynton Marsalis. His documentaries continued to accrue accolades from a variety of film and historical organizations. Many of them appeared on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network, often bringing it a marked increase in viewership when they aired.

He continually impresses and engages audiences by creating even more ambitious material, including Country Music (2019), which chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, and Earnest Hemingway (2020) which focuses on the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of our nation, and examines the visionary work and turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway.

Burns has been the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees and has delivered many treasured commencement addresses. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1975 and went on to be one of the co-founders of Florentine Films.

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Videos
Books
The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History

The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945

The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945

Baseball: An Illustrated History, including The Tenth Inning

Baseball: An Illustrated History, including The Tenth Inning

Jazz: A History of America's Music

Jazz: A History of America's Music

Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography

Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography

Speaking Topics
  • The National Parks - A Treasure House of Nature's Superlatives

    Burns discusses, in this unusually moving and personal lecture, the great gift of our national parks. Here both the immensity and the intimacy of time merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. He begins the talk with a 13-minute clip
    • the intro to *The National Parks: Americas Best Idea*.

  • Sharing the American Experience

    Ken Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history, and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating *The Civil War, Baseball* and *Jazz*, Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips utilized in this presentation.

  • No Ordinary Lives

    Drawing on some of Lincoln's most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Ken Burns' best known works
    • *The Civil War*, his epic retelling of the most important event in American history and The War, his intensely moving story of WWII told through the experiences of so-called ordinary people from four geographically distributed American towns. The presentation opens with Norah Jones' American Anthem clip (5 min) from The War.

  • American Lives

    This combines the biographies of some of Ken’s most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and Frank Lloyd Wright. He shares how biography works, and gives insight into the storytelling process. No clips.

  • Race in America

    For more than 30 years, Burns has been dealing with the theme of race in his uniquely American documentaries. Now, in the age of Obama, he looks back from the perspective of monumental change in the country to reflect where weve been. He uses several clips from earlier films in this presentation.

News
FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Ken Burns?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Ken Burns for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Ken Burns, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Ken Burns or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Ken Burns?

    Booking fees for Ken Burns, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Ken Burns, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Ken Burns?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Ken Burns for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Ken Burns for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Ken Burns or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Ken Burns or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Ken Burns

Historian & Award-Winning Filmmaker

Travels From:
Walpole, NH, USA
Speaking Fee:

Ken Burns Biography

For more than thirty years Ken Burns and his collaborators have produced and directed some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.

Burns' works are treasure troves of archival materials; he skillfully utilizes period music and footage, photographs, periodicals and ordinary people's correspondence, the latter often movingly read by seasoned professional actors in a deliberate attempt to get away from a "Great Man" approach to history. Like most non-fiction filmmakers, Burns wears many hats on his projects, often serving as writer, cinematographer, editor and music director in addition to producing and directing. He achieved his apotheosis with The Civil War (1990), a phenomenally popular 11-hour documentary that won two Emmy Awards and broke all previous ratings records for public TV.

Following the success of The Civil War, Burns then made a combination of single films, miniseries, and extended series, including the epics Baseball (1994), which won an Emmy, and Jazz (2001). Burns’s later docu-series included The War (2007),The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2009),The Tenth Inning (2010), The Address (2014), The Vietnam War (2017), and more.

Burns frequently employed the distinctive voices of well-known actors in the narration of his films and twice collaborated on scores with jazz musician Wynton Marsalis. His documentaries continued to accrue accolades from a variety of film and historical organizations. Many of them appeared on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network, often bringing it a marked increase in viewership when they aired.

He continually impresses and engages audiences by creating even more ambitious material, including Country Music (2019), which chronicles the history of a uniquely American art form, and Earnest Hemingway (2020) which focuses on the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of our nation, and examines the visionary work and turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway.

Burns has been the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees and has delivered many treasured commencement addresses. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1975 and went on to be one of the co-founders of Florentine Films.

Ken Burns Videos

  • Ken Burns, Tom Brokaw Talk About 'Mayo Clinic' Documentary ...
    Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and NBC's Tom Brokaw drop by to discuss Burns' newest documentary, “The Mayo Clinic: Faith, ...
  • Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking | Official Trailer ...
    Learn more about Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking: www. masterclass.com/kb In Ken Burns's MasterClass, the documentary ...
  • Ken Burns To Deliver Prestigious Jefferson Lecture - YouTube
    The National Endowment for the Humanities has chosen acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has to deliver the 2016 Jefferson ...

Ken Burns Books

Speaker Lists Featuring Ken Burns

Ken Burns Speaking Topics

  • The National Parks - A Treasure House of Nature's Superlatives

    Burns discusses, in this unusually moving and personal lecture, the great gift of our national parks. Here both the immensity and the intimacy of time merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. He begins the talk with a 13-minute clip
    • the intro to *The National Parks: Americas Best Idea*.

  • Sharing the American Experience

    Ken Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history, and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating *The Civil War, Baseball* and *Jazz*, Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips utilized in this presentation.

  • No Ordinary Lives

    Drawing on some of Lincoln's most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Ken Burns' best known works
    • *The Civil War*, his epic retelling of the most important event in American history and The War, his intensely moving story of WWII told through the experiences of so-called ordinary people from four geographically distributed American towns. The presentation opens with Norah Jones' American Anthem clip (5 min) from The War.

  • American Lives

    This combines the biographies of some of Ken’s most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and Frank Lloyd Wright. He shares how biography works, and gives insight into the storytelling process. No clips.

  • Race in America

    For more than 30 years, Burns has been dealing with the theme of race in his uniquely American documentaries. Now, in the age of Obama, he looks back from the perspective of monumental change in the country to reflect where weve been. He uses several clips from earlier films in this presentation.

FAQs on booking Ken Burns

  • How to book Ken Burns?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Ken Burns for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Ken Burns, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Ken Burns or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Ken Burns?

    Booking fees for Ken Burns, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Ken Burns, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Ken Burns?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Ken Burns for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Ken Burns for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Ken Burns or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Ken Burns or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Ken Burns is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Ken Burns for your event is $100,000 - $200,000. Ken Burns generally travels from Walpole, NH, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Bob Costas, Robert Ballard, Spike Lee, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Montel Williams. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Ken Burns for an upcoming event.

Ken Burns Speaker Videos

  • Ken Burns, Tom Brokaw Talk About 'Mayo Clinic' Documentary ...
    Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and NBC's Tom Brokaw drop by to discuss Burns' newest documentary, “The Mayo Clinic: Faith, ...
    Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking | Official Trailer ...
    Learn more about Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking: www. masterclass.com/kb In Ken Burns's MasterClass, the documentary ...
  • Ken Burns To Deliver Prestigious Jefferson Lecture - YouTube
    The National Endowment for the Humanities has chosen acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has to deliver the 2016 Jefferson ...
    The Lens of Ken Burns: A Conversation on History, Storytelling, and the
  • The Aspen Institute's 22nd Annual Summer Celebration Dinner with Ken Burns
    The Aspen Institute's 22nd Annual Summer Celebration Dinner with Ken Burns

Ken Burns Speaking Topics

  • The National Parks - A Treasure House of Nature's Superlatives

    Burns discusses, in this unusually moving and personal lecture, the great gift of our national parks. Here both the immensity and the intimacy of time merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. He begins the talk with a 13-minute clip
    • the intro to *The National Parks: Americas Best Idea*.

  • Sharing the American Experience

    Ken Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history, and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating *The Civil War, Baseball* and *Jazz*, Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips utilized in this presentation.

  • No Ordinary Lives

    Drawing on some of Lincoln's most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Ken Burns' best known works
    • *The Civil War*, his epic retelling of the most important event in American history and The War, his intensely moving story of WWII told through the experiences of so-called ordinary people from four geographically distributed American towns. The presentation opens with Norah Jones' American Anthem clip (5 min) from The War.

  • American Lives

    This combines the biographies of some of Ken’s most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and Frank Lloyd Wright. He shares how biography works, and gives insight into the storytelling process. No clips.

  • Race in America

    For more than 30 years, Burns has been dealing with the theme of race in his uniquely American documentaries. Now, in the age of Obama, he looks back from the perspective of monumental change in the country to reflect where weve been. He uses several clips from earlier films in this presentation.

Ken Burns News

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During normal business hours, we respond to most inquiries within 4 hours.

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Speakers Similar to Ken Burns

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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