Francis Pott (composer)

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Francis John Dolben Pott (born 25 August 1957) is a British composer, pianist, senior academic and university administrator.


He held open music scholarships at Winchester College and Magdalene College, Cambridge, studying composition at the latter with Robin Holloway and Hugh Wood while also pursuing piano studies as a private pupil of Hamish Milne in London.[1]

For many years Pott was the John Bennett Lecturer in Music at St Hilda's College, Oxford. In 2001 he was appointed administrative and academic Head of the London College of Music, one of the eight Schools within the University of West London. He later became Head of both Composition and Research Development in Music, Media and Creative Technologies.

In February 2007 Pott was appointed to the University's first Chair of Composition. He holds the degrees B.A. [Hons], Mus.B. and M.A. University of Cambridge and PhD University of West London, as well as a [Composition] Fellowship of London College of Music [F.L.C.M.] and a Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy [P.F.H.E.A.]. He was a member of Winchester Cathedral Choir under David Hill from 1991 until 2001, touring the USA, the Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, France and Norway and also participating in many CD recordings and broadcasts[2]

Pott has received many national awards as a composer and in 1997 gained First Prize in the second S.S.Prokofiev International Composing Competition in Moscow. In the 2004 Barlow International Composition Award (USA) he was placed Second out of a global entry by 362 composers, receiving Honorable Mention. In both 2006 and 2011 he was a nominated finalist in the choral section of the BASCA Annual Composer Awards in London.

Pott's current compositional projects include a concerto for cor anglais and orchestra (the composer's second instrument being the oboe), a violin concerto and a large-scale symphony.

In February 2008 Pott was a keynote speaker alongside James MacMillan and Jonathan Harvey at a conference, 'Contemporary Music and Spirituality', convened at London's South Bank Centre by Dr Robert Sholl (for London College of Music) in association with the Royal Musicological Association.

Pott has appeared frequently as a two-piano duo recitalist with Jeremy Filsell and another British pianist, Roger Owens. Pott is writing an extended critical study of the works of the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner, on whose music he is an authority. His existing publications in prose include a chapter on his own music in the book 'Contemporary Music and Spirituality', edited by Robert Sholl and Sander van Maas (Routledge, London & New York, 2016; ISBN 978-1-4094-4058-1).

Francis Pott lives just outside Winchester. He has been married for 24 years and has two children, both following in his musical footsteps.[3]


Pott's works have been performed and broadcast in over forty countries worldwide, issued extensively on CD and published by five major houses in the UK. His monumental Organ Symphony Christus was described in the national press in 1992 as "one of the most important organ works of our century", and again in The Times in 1999 as "an astonishingly original composition, compelling in its structural logic and exhilarating in performance: a stupendous achievement".[4] In the same year and in the same columns his oratorio A Song on the End of the World, named after a Czesław Miłosz poem from Nazi-occupied Warsaw and written as the last pre-millennial Elgar Commission of the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, was hailed as "thrilling, apocalyptic and profoundly affecting".

His 89-minute oratorio for tenor solo, double chorus and organ, The Cloud of Unknowing, received international acclaim following its premiere in May 2006 at London Festival of Contemporary Church Music (James Gilchrist, tenor, Jeremy Filsell, organ, and the Vasari Singers under their conductor, Jeremy Backhouse) and the CD release by the same artists in September 2007 (Signum Records).[5] In January 2012 Naxos released Pott's sacred choral works, performed by the Oxford-based chamber choir Commotio under the direction of Matthew Berry.

Pott's piano music is championed by the Russian-Canadian virtuoso Alexander Tselyakov, and his organ works by the British-born, USA-based organist Jeremy Filsell. Other works include sonatas for violin, viola and 'cello (one for each, all with piano) and many songs (including cycles). Further works for chorus and orchestra include 'The Lost Wand' (2015, setting texts by Hermann Hesse, Karen Gershon and Vernon Scannell – the title is taken from a line of Scannell's) and 'Cantus Maris' (2016, incorporating an important solo part for mezzo-soprano).

In December 2013 Pott signed an exclusive contract with Peters Edition in London, to cover all his future choral and organ work and those items from his back-catalogue which remain unpublished. His piano and chamber music is published by Composers Edition.[6]


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