Samuel was born in London in 1981 into a musical family. He studied violin, piano, saxophone and singing as a child, attending Junior Guildhall and becoming solo chorister at the Temple Church. At sixteen he fell in love with the viola and soon joined the National Youth Orchestra. In 1999 he entered Trinity College of Music, studying viola with Richard Crabtree and conducting with Peter Stark. He left five years later having won awards for viola, solo Bach, chamber music, extemporisation and the prestigious Silver Medal for Strings, and with a First Class Honours Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction. A year with Southbank Sinfonia followed, before he joined the Philharmonia.
Samuel has played principal viola with seven major orchestras across England, Wales and Scotland. As soloist he has performed works by Berlioz, Britten, Mozart, Telemann and Walton. His recital and chamber music performances have taken him across Britain and Europe and to South America. Since 2011 he has taught and coached at conservatoires, taking viola and string classes at Trinity Laban and the Royal College of Music, where he is now giving a course on the 'Art of Teaching'.
Samuel made his conducting début in 2006 with the St Paul's Sinfonia, and his professional début three years later with the West London Sinfonia in an acclaimed concert which included Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. In 2010 he founded the Paradisal Players, an orchestra of brilliant musicians that gathers three times a year for performances at venues across London. So far they have helped raise over £100,000 for the British Red Cross, Crisis at Christmas, Amnesty International, Alzheimer's Research UK, the Highbury Roundhouse, Veterans Aid and the Union Chapel Organ Fund. Their next concert on Saturday 4th January 2014 is a programme of Schumann, Beethoven and Brahms, and will raise funds for St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham.
His commitment to communicating the joy of music has lead to Samuel writing popular blogs for the Philharmonia's website, in which he describes the sights and sounds of life in the orchestra. He is a keen sports fan, and plays for the Philharmonia's football team and the Players Cricket Club. Samuel is married to the Slovenian pianist Ana Sinkovec-Burstin, with whom he has a beautiful baby girl. He plays a magnificent viola by David Milward.