- Gardiner Professor of Music (Music)
Office Hours: Thursdays 11am - 12noon and by appointment
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, 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: these 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) marked a new tack, examining the broad culture of historically informed performance and attempting to explain and justify it as a contemporary phenomenon. He 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). His book on Bach’s Passions, Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity, was published in 2010, and explores the ways in which Bach's passion settings relate to some of the broader concepts of modernity, such as subjectivity and time consciousness.
John Butt’s conducting engagements with the Dunedin Consort (2003-) have included major Baroque repertory and several new commissions. His recording of Messiah in its first performed version (Dublin, 1742) was released by Linn Records in 2006 and received the ClassicFM/Gramophone award in the Baroque Vocal Category in 2007 and the MIDEM award for Baroque Music in 2008. Linn released his recording of Bach's Matthew Passion in March 2008 (which was ClassicFM Magazine’s Recording of the Month), and Handel’s Acis and Galatea in November 2008 (which was Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice and Recording of the Month). His recording of Bach’s Mass in B Minor was released in May 2010 and was also Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. He has been guest conductor with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Göttingen Handel Festspiele, the Berkeley Festival, the RSAMD Chamber Orchestra and Chorus and the Irish Baroque Orchestra. He conducts Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in December 2010. John Butt also continues to be active as a solo organist and harpsichordist. Eleven recordings on organ, harpsichord and clavichord have been released by Harmonia Mundi. As conductor or organist he has performed throughout the world, including recent trips to Germany, France, Poland, Israel and Korea.
In 2003 John Butt was elected to 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 been appointed to the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In January 2011 he will become the fifth recipient of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation's Bach Prize, for his work in the performance and scholarship of Bach.
Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity: Perspectives on the Passions (supported by a two-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, published by Cambridge University Press, 2010)
- 1979-82 A.H. Mann Organ Studentship, King's College, Cambridge
- 1980 John Stewart of Rannoch Scholarship in Sacred Music, Cambridge University
- 2005 Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a two-year study of Bach’s Passions (2006-2008)
- Luciana Camara Queiroz de Souza: 'Que se joue avec Discretion: Subjectivity and Performance in the seventeenth century.'
- Robert Cakebread: 'The Temple Guard: Influences of J.S. Bach on the Music of W. A. Mozart in 1791.'
- Kevin Bowyer: 'Sorabji organ symphonies.'
- Anne Desler: 'Carlo Broschi Farinelli: Voice, Repertory and Artistic Personality.'
- Elaine Scott: 'Franz Liszt - a Bicentenary Evaluation of his Lasting Legacy.'
- Luca Guariento: 'Robert Fludd and his musical thought in the 'Utriusque cosmi... historia' and in his musical compositions.'
- Amy Parker Dixon: 'Towards a Poetics of Criticism: Adomodian Negativity and the Experimental in the Essays and Musical Marginalia of Virginia Woolf.' (2nd supervisor)
- Kathryn Cooper: '19th Century Scottish Music Historiographers and their Source Material.' (2nd supervisor)
Reviews and Notes
- Over forty reviews of books and music for Country Life, Early Music, Early Music History, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Music and Letters, Music Library Association NOTES, Musical Times, The New Republic, Piano and Keyboard, The Times Literary Supplement, Early Keyboard Journal
- Numerous CD reviews for Gramophone, Early Music, Early Music Review
- Author of extended Guardian article on Bach, for the BBC Radio 3 Bach marathon, December 2005
- Sleeve notes and concert programme notes for Academy of Ancient Music, Aldeburgh Festival, Berkeley Festival, Britten Sinfonia, Carmel Bach Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), Andras Schiff's 2000 Bach series, Monteverdi Choir, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Angela Hewitt’s 2009 recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier
- Commissioning editor (with Laurence Dreyfus) for the series Cambridge Studies in the Performance and Reception of Music (formerly, Cambridge Musical Texts and Monographs) 1994 -
- Editorial Board of The Journal of the American Musicological Society, 1999 - 2003
- Advisory Board of Eighteenth-Century Music, 2003 -
- Advisory Board of The Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 2003 - 2006
- Council Member, Royal Musical Association, 2004 - 7
- Advisory Board of CHARM (Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), 2004 - 8
- Member of AHRC Peer Review College, 2004 - 7
- Member of RAE 2008, Sub-Panel 67, 2005 - 8
- Member of The American Musicological Society - Annual Conference Programme committee, 2005
- Member of Advisory Council for Institute of Musical Research (University of London), 2006 -
- British Academy awards in music, 2007-
- Editorial Board, Understanding Bach, 2005-
- Editorial Board, Scottish Music Review, 2007- (editor of first issue)
- Appointed to the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2010
- Numerous lectures and interviews for the BBC (relayed from San Francisco 1994-7, from London, Cambridge or Glasgow 1997-) - including 3 short papers on the history of western music ('The Unfinished Symphony'), 31 December 1999, contributions to the Sunday Bach programmes, 2000, and contribution to 'The English Cadence' (2002)); several interviews on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’, 'The Choir' and on Radio Scotland
- Performances include:
- Recital from the organ in the Schosskirche, Altenburg, Germany (including interview with Joshua Rifkin, 2000)
- Concert of organ concertos and sonatas by Handel and Mozart (with EnsemblePtarmigan) from Glasgow University Chapel (2003)
- Recordings as Conductor
- Chorus Director of UC Chamber Chorus in recordings by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, Handel’s Theodora and Judas Maccabaeus with Harmonia Mundi, 1992-95
- Gibbons, anthems, with UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, Centaur, conductor and solo organ, 1997
- Handel’s Messiah (Dublin version, 1742), Dunedin Consort and Players, Linn Records, CKD285 (November, 2006)
- Bach’s Matthew Passion (Bach’s final performing version c. 1742), Dunedin Consort and Players, Linn Records, CKD313 (March, 2008)
- Handel’s Acis and Galatea (first, Cannons, version 1718), Dunedin Consort and Players, Linn Records, CKD319 (November, 2008)
- Bach’s B Minor Mass (Rifkin edition of final version), Dunedin Consort and Players, Linn Records, CKD354 (May, 2010)
- Solo Recordings (Organ and Harpsichord; most involving substantial scholarly preparation)
- Pachelbel - Hexachordum Apollinis; two chaconnes; organ - Harmonia Mundi France, 1990
- Bach - Trio sonatas for organ - Harmonia Mundi France, 1992
- Cabanilles - Organ music - Harmonia Mundi France, 1992
- Solo harpsichord (with violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock) in Bach's complete harpsichord/violin sonatas (2 CDs), Harmonia Mundi France, 1993
- Kuhnau - solo harpsichord sonatas, Frische Clavier Früchte, Harmonia Mundi France, 1993
- Purcell - Complete Organ Music and Works by Locke and Blow, Harmonia Mundi France, 1994
- Kuhnau, Biblische Historien, played on organ, clavichord and harpsichord, Harmonia Mundi France, 1995
- Frescobaldi, Capricci, Harmonia Mundi France, 1996
- Recital, 2 July 1995 at St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen (Bach, Liszt, Brahms, Dupré and Messiaen), released by University of Aberdeen on CD, 1997
- Telemann, Fantasies for Harpsichord (on instruments in the Russell Collection, Edinburgh), Harmonia Mundi France, 1999
- J.S. Bach - Four Toccatas and Fugues; Schübler Chorales - (Recorded on the Organ of Trinity College, Cambridge) Harmonia Mundi France, 2000
- Edward Elgar - Complete Organ Music, (Recorded on the Organ of King's College Cambridge), Harmonia Mundi France, 2002
- Organs of Glasgow (with John Kitchen), Delphian (2004)
- Recordings as Keyboard Soloist, Continuo etc
- Re-released recordings, originally from 1980-2:
- EMI, Duruflé, Fauré Requiems (King’s College Choir/Ledger); solo organ parts
- ASV, Gibbons church music (King’s College Choir/Ledger); organ solos
- Session Producer for American Bach Soloists recording of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, conducted by Jeffrey Thomas, Koch International
- Harpsichord 1, in Bach’s concerto for four harpsichords, with American Bach Soloists, Jeffrey Thomas, Koch International
- Harpsichord solo, in Bach’s Brandenburg concerto V, with American Bach Soloists, Jeffrey Thomas (recorded 1995, to be released 2007)
- 1989-1997 - About 15 recordings playing harpsichord and organ continuo, mainly with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and American Bach Soloists
Fellowships, Awards, Honours
- 1983 Finalist in the London Lloyd-Webber Memorial Organ Competition
- 1984 Finalist in the Leipzig Bach Organ Competition
- 1992 W. H. Scheide Award from the American Bach Society for book, Bach Interpretation (Cambridge, 1990)
- 1995 Honorary member of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, Ohio
- 2003 Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
- 2003 Book, Playing with History, shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize
- 2006 Fellow of the British Academy
- 2007 Elected to membership of Academia Europaea (The Academy of Europe)
- 2007 Recording of Messiah awarded Gramophone Award, Baroque Vocal category
- 2008 Recording of Messiah awarded MIDEM, Baroque Music award
- 2010 Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize