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John Butt

John Butt
John Butt
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John A Butt is an orchestral and choral conductor, organist, harpsichordist and scholar who has held the Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow since 2001, and has led the Dunedin Consort, a professional vocal ensemble centered in Edinburgh, since 2003.

John Butt was born in Solihull in the West Midlands, England, in 1960. He 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. His organ teachers at Cambridge included the noted organists Peter Hurford and Gillian Weir. He received his Ph.D. at Cambridge in 1987. After graduation, he lectured at the University of Aberdeen and was a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge. In 1989, he became University Organist and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1992. In 1997, he returned to Cambridge University as a University Lecturer and Fellow of King's College. 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 been conductor of the Dunedin Consort (a professional vocal ensemble in Edinburgh, Scotland).

In 2003 John Butt received the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association; in January 2011 he became the fifth recipient of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation's Bach Prize.

As a guest conductor, he has appeared with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and orchestras at the Berkeley Early Music Festival and G¦ttingen Handel Festival.


Books have included

Bach Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 1990; the book is based on Butt's doctoral thesis, a study of articulation marks in primary sources of the music of J.S. Bach. The book won the Scheide Award of the American Bach Society.)
Bach - Mass in B Minor (Cambridge Music Handbooks, 1991)
Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
Playing with History - the historical approach to musical performance (Cambridge University Press, 2002; shortlisted for the book prize of the British Academy)
Bach's Dialogue with Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2010; the book centers on Bach's St. Matthew Passion)

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 harpsichordist, organist, or clavichordist, Butt has 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 Jose Cabanilles, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Sir Edward Elgar.[4] As a continuo player he has recorded with many ensembles. As a choral conductor, he has released four recordings with the Dunedin Consort for the Linn label.[5] These include:
2006: The Messiah Handel's Messiah . This was the first recording of a reconstruction of the work in its first performance, which took place in Dublin in 1742.
March 2008: J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion. This was the first recording of the (final) 1742 version of St. Matthew Passion. It was ClassicFM Magazines Recording of the month in April 2008, and one of Stereophile's "Records 2 Die 4" of the year 2009.
November 2008: Handels Acis and Galatea. This was Gramophones Editors Choice and Recording of the Month in January 2009.
2010: J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor. This is the first recording to use the new critical edition by Joshua Rifkin, which follows Bach's final version of the score from 1748-50 exclusively from beginning to end. (Other editions have included elements from a 1733 version of the Kyrie and Gloria, and some posthumous changes by Bach's son, C.P.E. Bach).
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