Ken Burns Acclaimed Documentarian and Foremost Chronicler of the American Experience Speaks in Pasadena in May

Published on Mar 29, 2023

Ken Burns in library Fall 2018 Photo credit: Evan Barlow

Ken Burns, one of the most recognizable and popular documentary filmmakers of our time is coming to Pasadena as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. He is appearing live at the Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 8:00pm. Great seats are available now until May 1st for $85.00 each at

“Ken Burns’ is not just one of our generations greatest filmmakers, but one of the greatest presenters of our time” said Kathy Winterhalder, Founder of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California. “His electrifying and unusually moving documentaries and words remind us of the timeless lessons of history and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. The community interest in seeing him has been tremendous and has initiated the unusual decision to open up tickets to non-subscribers.”

Widely recognized as one of the greatest documentary filmmakers of our time, Ken Burns is our country’s foremost chronicler, in film, of the American experience. Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; Prohibition; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; The Vietnam War; Country Music; and, most recently, The U.S. and the Holocaust.

A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. In March 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “… Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” And Wynton Marsalis has called Ken “a master of timing, and of knowing the sweet spot of a story, of how to ask questions to get to the basic human feeling and to draw out the true spirit of a given subject.”

Future film projects include The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American Revolution, Emancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations. In September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In November of 2022, Ken was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is at the Ambassador Auditorium, 131 South Saint John Avenue, Pasadena. Burns’ program begins at 8:00pm. He is the last presenter of six talks offered as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Pasadena. His evening will conclude with a half-hour unfiltered and candid question and answer session. Tickets to Ken Burns are available to purchase now until May 1st for $85.00 each and can be purchased by visiting our website at


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