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Artist Hyperion Records
Butt, John (conductor)
© David Barbour

John Butt (conductor)

John Butt is Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow and Musical Director of Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort.

As an undergraduate at Cambridge University, he held the office of organ scholar at King’s College. Continuing as a graduate student working on the music of Bach, he received his PhD in 1987. He was subsequently a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1989 as University Organist and Professor of Music. In autumn 1997 he returned to Cambridge as a University Lecturer and Fellow of King’s College, and in October 2001 he took up his current post at Glasgow. His books have been published by Cambridge University Press: they include Bach Interpretation (1990), a handbook on Bach’s Mass in B minor (1991), Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (1994), Playing with History (2002) and Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity (2010). Butt is also editor or joint editor of both the Cambridge and Oxford Companions to Bach and of the Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music (2005).

Butt’s conducting engagements with the Dunedin Consort have included major Baroque repertory and several new commissions. He is a principal artist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has been guest conductor with the English Concert, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Royal Academy of Music Bach Cantata series, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Butt also continues to be active as a solo organist and harpsichordist. In addition to his fourteen recordings with Linn (twelve directing the Dunedin Consort, two on solo harpsichord), he has made eleven recordings on organ, harpsichord and clavichord for Harmonia Mundi. As conductor or organist he has performed throughout the world, including trips to the US, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Poland and the Irish Republic.

In 2003 Butt was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and received the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association. That year his book Playing with History was shortlisted for the British Academy’s annual book prize. In 2006 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy and began a two-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for his research on Bach’s Passions. He has recently served on the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In January 2011 he became the fifth recipient of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation’s Bach Prize, for his work on the performance and scholarship of Bach. In 2013 Butt was awarded the medal of the Royal College of Organists and appointed OBE for services to music in Scotland.


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