John Butcher

John Butcher (b. 1954) lives and works in London. John Butcher's practice includes both improvisation and composition, ranging from solo explorations of the possibilities of the saxophone, through multitracked works, to large instrumental ensembles. Originally a theoretical physicist, Butcher left academia in 1982 to dedicate himself to music. His 'hypermodern language of sounds rooted in the resources of the saxophone', in the words of writer Steve Lake, has led to collaborations with hundreds of artists and groups around the world, including Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Gerry Hemingway, Elision Ensemble, Otomo Yoshihide, Polwechsel, Eddie Prévost, Rhodri Davies and Gino Robair. Diverse compositions include 'somethingtobesaid' (2008), a HCMF commission for the John Butcher Group, and 'penny wands and native string' (2009), for eight Futurist Intonarumori. Butcher is also well known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with a sense of place, working acoustically and with amplification and feedback. Recent projects involving site-specific, unusual and extreme acoustics include the 'Resonant Spaces' tour of Scotland & Orkneys (2006), the Oya Stone Museum, Japan (2010), and Jim Magee's 'The Hill' in the West Texas desert near El Paso (2010).

John Butcher | It’s a tremendous boost to be given this award by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Such generous support will significantly help me to continue to explore, without making compromises, the music I have been developing for the past 25 years. Numerous, previously precarious ideas and projects now become possible, and I particularly look forward to the ones I haven’t even thought of yet. It’s wonderful to have been handed this opportunity. Thank you.