John Butt's career as both musician and scholar centres on music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Author of five monographs, he is also concerned with the implications of the past in our present culture.
Butt has written extensively on Bach, the baroque, the historical performance revival (Playing with History, 2002) and issues of modernity (Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity, 2010). His subsequent work has centred on listening cultures and embodied musical experience, and frictions between Classical Music ideology and religious practice.
His discography includes eleven recordings on organ and harpsichord for Harmonia Mundi and thirteen recent recordings for Linn Records. Highlights, as conductor of Dunedin, include the Gramophone award-winning recordings of Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem (the latter also nominated for a Grammy award), together with significant recordings of Bach’s Passions, Mass, Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio and Brandenburg Concertos, and Handel’s Acis and Esther. A recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 is released in September 2017.
His performing career has taken him, over last two years, to the US, Mexico, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Malta, Spain and Norway. As a guest conductor he has worked, or will shortly work with, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, Halle Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, The English Concert, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra and Ars Lyrica. He makes his London Proms debut with Dunedin Consort in August 2017, and opens the Queen’s Hall series with the same group at the Edinburgh Festival.
He has been appointed an FBA and FRSE, and has been awarded the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Society, together with the RAM/Kohn Foundation's Bach Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the medal of the Royal College of Organists, together with an OBE