Oliver Butterworth (violinist)

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Oliver Butterworth, ARAM is a British violinist, music educator, and arts administrator.


Butterworth entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1965 as Sterndale Bennett Scholar and studied with Manoug Parikian. He then studied at the Prague Conservatory with Jaroslav Pekelský and Viktor Lieberman. In 1970 he also studied in Brno with Bohdan Warchal, himself a former student of František Kudláček. Butterworth has had an interest in Czech music ever since, and has recorded the complete violin works of Leoš Janáček, as well as works by František Drdla, Antonín Dvořák, Zdeněk Fibich, Jan Kubelík, Bohuslav Martinů, Oskar Nedbal, and Josef Suk. His recording of Janáček's Violin Sonata incorporates unpublished additions that the composer gave to Kudláček, who gave the first performance, and which Kudláček passed on to Warchal, who in turn passed them on to Butterworth.[1]

After performing as a freelance violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra, Butterworth joined the English Chamber Orchestra in 1971, performing with Benjamin Britten (The Lord Britten, OM, CH), Raymond Leppard CBE, Pinchas Zukerman, and Daniel Barenboim KBE. He was appointed leader of the Dartington Ensemble and Piano Trio in 1981.

Butterworth made his solo recital début at the Purcell Room in 1979.[2]

Butterworth appeared in the role of the concert master in episode 2, 'One at a Time', in the 1971 TV serial Casanova, performing Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.[3][4]

Butterworth was Senior Lecturer at Dartington College of Arts and later Professor of Violin at Trinity College of Music from 1989 until 2008. He was also Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra from 1990 until 2001. Under Butterworth's artistic directorship the orchestra performed with Sir Colin Davis, CH, CBE, Dudley Moore, CBE, Meredith Davies, CBE, David Stern, Julian Bream, CBE, Ivry Gitlis, and Yoshikazu Iwamoto, and commissioned works by David Matthews, Derek Bourgeois, Ian Gardiner, Tim Ewers, Tomiko Kohjiba, and Paul Robinson. Butterworth has taught violin, coached chamber ensembles, and trained and conducted string orchestras in the United Kingdom, South America, and the Far East.

Butterworth was consultant for Tony Palmer's Film of Ivry Gitlis and the Great Tradition (Gonzo Multimedia, 2012).

Butterworth is Director, together with his wife Julia Munn, of Musicstage Promotions Ltd and Artistic Director of Al Farabi Concerto. He is also a Co-Director, together with Professor Peter Wiegold, of the Brunel Institute for Contemporary Middle Eastern Music at Brunel University. He is also a Trustee of the Arab British Centre, and in 2011 he was a panellist for the Arab British Culture & Society Award.

In 2002 Butterworth was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.[5]




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