|Name John Butt||Role Conductor|
|Books Playing with History: Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs|
Albums Six Brandenburg Concertos
Education Solihull School, University of Cambridge
Nominations Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance
Similar People Matthew Brook, Susan Hamilton, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann
John butt in conversation
John Butt, OBE, FRSE, FBA (born 17 November 1960, Solihull, England) is an orchestral and choral conductor, organist, harpsichordist and scholar. He is the Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow and is music director of the Dunedin Consort.
- John butt in conversation
- John butt discusses mozart s requiem with editor oliver condy
- Education and career
- Awards and fellowships
- Personal life
John butt discusses mozart s requiem with editor oliver condy
Education and career
John Butt was educated at Solihull School on a music scholarship. In 1979 he began his undergraduate education at University of Cambridge, where he held the position of organ scholar at King's College from 1979 to 1982. His organ teachers at Cambridge included Peter Hurford and Gillian Weir. He received his PhD at Cambridge in 1987.
After graduation, he lectured at the University of Aberdeen and was a Fellow of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge. In 1989, he became university organist and assistant professor of music at the University of California, Berkeley; in 1992, he was promoted to associate professor, as well as director of the University Chamber Chorus. He prepared that choir for Gustav Leonhardt to conduct in Bach's Magnificat and Cantata no. 10 at the 1992 Berkeley Festival and Exhibition; Butt later said that he had come to know Leonhardt "fairly well" and that "I learned a lot when preparing choirs for him back in my California days." In 1997, he gave what one critic calls "memorable readings of Handel Organ Concertos" as guest organ soloist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In autumn of 1997, Butt returned to the University of Cambridge as University Lecturer, Director of Studies for Music at King's College, and Fellow of King's College. He also became the founding director of King's Voices – a mixed chorus "founded in October 1997 under the direction of Dr John Butt (director of studies for Music at King's, 1997–2001) to give the women of King's the opportunity to contribute vocally to the musical life of the College." Musicians that he inspired during this time include the organist Robert Quinney and harpsichordist and director Julian Perkins.
Since October 2001 he has been the Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow; he also served as Head of the Music Department from 2001 to 2005. Since 2003 he has conducted the Dunedin Consort (a professional vocal ensemble in Edinburgh, Scotland); his title with the consort as of August 2012 is "Music Director." At the end of the 2013/14 academic session, Butt was also appointed Interim Director of Music of the Glasgow University Chapel Choir, after James Grossmith left that post to become chorus master of the Royal Swedish Opera.
As a guest conductor, Butt has appeared with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the English Concert, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Aurora Orchestra, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and orchestras at the Berkeley Early Music Festival and Göttingen International Handel Festival.
He has published numerous articles for scholarly publications and for general-audience publications. Books have included
He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Bach (1997) – for which he contributed two articles on Bach's metaphysics – was consultant editor for the Oxford Companion to Bach, and joint editor (together with Tim Carter) of the Cambridge History of Seventeenth Century Music (2005).
As a solo harpsichordist, organist, or clavichordist, Butt made eleven recordings for the Harmonia mundi label, of music by J.S. Bach, Johann Kuhnau, Johann Pachelbel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Henry Purcell, John Blow, Matthew Locke, Juan Bautista Cabanilles, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Sir Edward Elgar. In 2004, he recorded Bach's Pastorella for organ, BWV 590, for the Delphian label in Glasgow. In July 2013, using a harpsichord modeled on an original built by Michael Mietke, Butt recorded J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier for the Linn label; it was released in November 2014.
As a continuo player Butt has recorded with many ensembles, including the English Chamber Orchestra and American Bach Soloists. In 1991–92, for Harmonia mundi, he and Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock recorded the J.S. Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1014–19, 1021 and 1023. In 2014, he recorded BWV 1014–19 again, this time with violinist Lucy Russell for the Linn label; it was released in 2015.
Butt's first recording as a conductor, made in 1994 for the Centaur label, featured music of Orlando Gibbons sung by the U.C. Berkeley Chamber Choir with viol accompaniment; for the disc, he also recorded keyboard works of Gibbons on the organ. Since 2005, Butt has conducted eleven recordings of the Dunedin Consort and Players for the Linn label, many featuring reconstructions of a specific historical performance. These include:
Awards and fellowships
In addition to awards for his books and recordings, Butt has won awards and fellowships including:
John Butt and his wife Sally have five children He is the nephew of a professional musician, and son of the distinguished biochemist Wilfred Butt – who was, Butt says, “a keen amateur” musician and was at one time a member of the chorus of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. When an interviewer for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment asked John Butt about his preferences, he expressed enthusiasm for the practice of tai chi, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (adding, "I can’t understand why so many people find Bruckner boring"), and the In Search of Lost Time novels of Marcel Proust (the central character, he said, is "a bit of a weed in many respects, but what a complex, detailed and wonderfully ironic weed! No-one else captures so strikingly the paradoxes of consciousness and the little inconsistencies and delusions that we all try to hide from the world"). He also told the interviewer, “I feel that most of the things at which I am successful are only a matter of momentary luck!”
On 17 September 2014 he published a letter in The Herald supporting the "No" position in Scottish independence referendum, 2014, and arguing that independence would damage classical music. He argued that "Classical and contemporary music surely flourish best in a multi-cultural, international, environment, one that is extraordinarily well provided within the UK (and which would be even better if more Scots were to reclaim some of their ownership of it)," decried the "insidious synecdochal reductionism of the independence cause," and concluded, "Such a simplistic attitude suggests that the risks of looking inwards and losing the dynamism of Scotland's own cultures are very real once we begin to live behind the Tartan Curtain."