Helensburgh musician John Butt gets OBE in New Year Honours

by Rebecca Garrett
  • John has been awarded an OBE
  • Conducting Dunedin Consort
  • The father of five has done solo and ensemble recordings

Congratulations to Professor John Butt from Helensburgh, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List!

The successful concert conductor and scholar was recognised for services to music in Scotland.

John told s1helensburgh: “It was a surprise. I am very pleased to receive this honour. I had never really contemplated getting that kind of thing.”

John has been the Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow for 12 years. Since 2003 he has been musical director of the Dunedin Consort, a professional baroque ensemble.

As conductor, he has led seven recordings of the ensemble for Linn Recordings and has made eleven solo records on the harpsichord, organ and clavichord.

He has also written several books on music and co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Bach.

John said that he could not have achieved his honour without the support of Glasgow Uni and Dunedin Consort and “without the tireless patience” of his wife Sally.

He also described how overwhelmed he was at the response from members of the community.

He said: “A lot of people have been congratulating me. I’ve had over 100 people writing to me and that was quite unexpected. That was actually more surprising in some ways than the actual medal! It’s been a huge response, which is a nice surprise.

“I have a sort of complex career with teaching, recording and performing but they all tie together. I suppose a lot of things come together - my work with the university, Dunedin, the concerts and the recordings."

John is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in Helensburgh. He and Sally have five children.

Christopher, 20, studies astrophysics at Glasgow Uni and 18-year-old James, also at the university, does aeronautical engineering. Victoria, 16, and Angus, 13 are at Hermitage Academy, while eight-year-old Fergus goes to Rhu Primary.

And it seems that music runs in the family. John said: “James used to play the clarinet and now plays guitar and Angus loves to play the trombone.”

John will collect his award from the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Patrick Loudon McLain Stewart.

And although not yet confirmed, he is likely to be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace later in the year.

He said: “I’ve not heard anything yet but that’s what I believe. I hope I have a choice when I can go though because with the concerts I’m away a lot.”

Well done John!

For more information on Dunedin Consort, click here

Want to see the Helensburgh musician in action? We found this video on YouTube uploaded by dunedinconsort, where you can see John’s enthusiasm for classical music and hear him talk about the ensemble's new CD, Bach - John Passion.


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