Born in London in 1981, Samuel studied violin, piano, saxophone and singing as a child. He became solo chorister at the Temple Church and, after discovering the viola at sixteen, joined the National Youth Orchestra. In 1999 he entered Trinity Laban, 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 Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction. After a year with the Southbank Sinfonia he joined the Philharmonia.
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 a concert including Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. He founded the Paradisal Players in 2010, and has conducted them in performances of great works from the 17th century to the present day, including three world premiers.
Samuel believes great music-making is storytelling. He likes to introduce the pieces he conducts, placing them in historical and musical context, and finds concert-goers enjoy hearing why the music is special and relevant today. His commitment to communicating the joy of music has lead to him writing popular blogs about life on tour with the Philharmonia, published on the orchestra's website.
In 2013 he married the Slovenian pianist Ana Sinkovec Burstin, with whom he has a beautiful baby girl.