Adrian Butterfield
Artist biography

Adrian Butterfield

Adrian Butterfield has gained an international reputation as a violinist, director and conductor who specialises in period performance of music from about 1600-1900 and is a Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music in London


Adrian Butterfield

Adrian Butterfield is a violinist, director, conductor and teacher who specialises in performing music from 1600-1900 on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and Associate Director of the London Handel Festival and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and Players as well as working as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America with modern and period ensembles.

Born in London, he started playing the violin at the age of four, was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral and went on to read music at Trinity College, Cambridge and study as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music. He has worked with most of the period-instrument ensembles in London.

He is a founder-member of the London Handel Players who perform regularly at Wigmore Hall and throughout Europe and North America and who made their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. They have made a number of recordings of music by Handel and his contemporaries for Somm Records. Adrian’s world premiere complete recordings of Leclair’s first two Books of violin sonatas were released in 2009 and 2013 on Naxos Records and Book 3 was released on 3 discs to great acclaim in 2022. His latest recording, of Bach’s sonatas for harpsichord and violin with Silas Wollston, will be released on Somm Records in March 2023.

He also leads the Revolutionary Drawing Room, an ensemble which specialises in performing Classical and Romantic repertoire on period instruments. A recording of quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal and Dittersdorf, 'A Viennese Quartet Party', was released by RDR to coincide with their 25th anniversary in 2015 and in 2017 they recorded flute quartets by Mozart and his contemporaries with the flautist, Rachel Brown.

He works annually with the Southbank Sinfonia, is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and has taught on a number of summer courses including Dartington, Aestas Musica (Croatia), the Belgrade Baroque Academy and the Pro Corda Conservatoire Baroque Summer School.

He has conducted all of the major choral works of Bach and nearly a hundred of his cantatas as well as numerous works by Handel at Wigmore Hall and elsewhere (Messiah, Esther, Parnasso in Festa, Israel in Egypt, Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, La Resurrezione and The 'Chandos' Anthems). He has  directed ensembles such as the London Mozart Players, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the Croatian Baroque Ensemble.

November 2018 saw the release of a ground-breaking new recording on the Onyx Classics label of Handel's Chandos Te Deum and Chandos Anthem No.8 with the LHO and soloists Grace Davidson, Charles Daniels, Nicholas Mulroy, Benedict Hymas and Edward Grint. This is the first time these works have been recorded in the venue for which Handel wrote them, the church of St. Lawrence, Whitchurch, and for the sort of forces Handel himself used.

Plans for the 2022/23 season include conducting Handel’s Messiah and ‘Chandos’ Anthems with the London Handel Orchestra and Mozart’s Requiem with the London Mozart Players. He’ll also be directing Bach cantatas with LHP at Wigmore Hall, Handel’s Orlando with Liberata Collective and Mozart’s A major Violin Concerto with the European Union Chamber Orchestra as well as leading a baroque workshop with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The London Handel Players will be touring Spain, Canada and the USA as well as giving numerous concerts across the UK.

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