“At nearly 200 years old, it’s the grande dame of British conservatoires, but the Royal Academy of Music is surprisingly forward-thinking”Pianist Magazine
The Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize, sponsored by the Kohn Foundation, is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the performance and/or scholarly study of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. This year’s prize has been awarded to Professor John Butt.
Professor Butt becomes the fifth winner of the prize, which was established by the Kohn Foundation and is worth £10,000. Previous winners have been Christoph Wolff (2006), András Schiff (2007), Sir John Eliot Gardiner (2008) and Peter Schreier (2009). Professor Wolff was on the selection panel which awarded this year’s prize, along with Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (Principal of the Royal Academy of Music) and Sir Ralph Kohn FRS, FRAM (Kohn Foundation).
John Butt has taught at the University of Aberdeen, Magdalene College Cambridge, University of California at Berkeley, King's College Cambridge and the University of Glasgow, where he is Gardiner Professor of Music. As musical director of the Dunedin Consort he has conducted the ensemble in numerous acclaimed recordings and performances (his recording of Bach’s Mass in B Minor will be released in May this year). He is also an active solo organist and harpsichordist, specialising in Bach but covering a wide repertoire including Elgar and Messiaen. His books, on Bach, Baroque performance practice and the culture of historical performance, have been published by Cambridge University Press. The latest, Bach's Dialogue with Modernity, relates Bach’s Passions to the broader historical context of western modernity and attempts to reassess the significance of Bach’s music in the contemporary world. He is also editor of (and contributor to) the Cambridge Companion to Bach and consultant editor for the Oxford Companion to Bach. He is a Fellow of the the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Sir Ralph Kohn commented: ‘I am delighted to welcome John to the exclusive group of experts who have been awarded the Bach Prize. John is both an eminent Bach scholar and a respected performer, and he will add further lustre to our selection of world-class musical personalities who have distinguished themselves in these two fields.’