John Potter (musician)

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John Potter
John Potter performs with Trio Mediæval
Background information
Origin England
Genres Classical
Early music
Extended vocal techniques
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1970s - present
Labels Hyperion, ECM
Associated acts Hilliard Ensemble, The Swingle Singers, Gavin Bryars, Trio Mediæval, John Surman

John Potter is an English tenor and academic.


John Potter's musical education began as a chorister at King's College, Cambridge, after which he became a scholar at The King's School, Canterbury and exhibitioner at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. His coaches included Lieder specialist Walter Gruner, accompanist Paul Hamburger, and the tenor Peter Pears.

He currently resides in York with his wife, Penny.


Potter specialises in early and contemporary vocal music. In addition to his solo work, he has performed with many acclaimed vocal ensembles including the Hilliard Ensemble, The Swingle Singers, The Dowland Project, the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, and Red Byrd, of which he is a co-founder. His discography includes over 100 recordings encompassing his eclectic musical interests including Léonin and Led Zeppelin.[1] He has received a fifth gold disc for the Hilliard Ensemble's Officium album.

He is in high demand as an ensemble coach, mentoring groups such as Trio Mediæval from Norway, The Kassiopeia Ensemble from the Netherlands, and Juice from the United Kingdom. His recent collaborations include Being Dufay with electronic music composer Ambrose Field[2] and the lutenist and vihuela player Ariel Abramovich.

Academic work[edit]

Potter is a reader emeritus for the Music Department at the University of York; before retirement he was the director of the Vocal Studies postgraduate program. His research interests include the sociology of vocal music and vocal repertory, especially Renaissance and contemporary music.[3]


Potter is the author of numerous academic publications, including articles and his book Vocal Authority (Cambridge University Press). He edited The Cambridge Companion to Singing, also for Cambridge University Press.

In his book Tenor: History of a Voice,[4] published by Yale University Press, John Potter includes a unique Tenorography,[5] which contains bibliographical and discographical/video information on several hundred tenors. Forthcoming publications include History of Singing written with Neil Sorrell, to be published by Cambridge University Press in January 2012.[6]


External links[edit]