John Butcher’s work ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked saxophone pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics.
Originally a physicist, he left academia in 1982, and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians — including Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Gerry Hemingway, The EX, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, John Edwards, Toshimaru Nakamura, Paul Lovens, Eddie Prevost, John Russell, John Tilbury, Christian Marclay, Phil Minton, and Steve Beresford.
He is well known as a soloist, sometimes exploring unusual site-specific acoustics, and has released seven CDs of solo saxophone music. He has toured and broadcast in Europe, Japan, North America and Australia, and was featured, playing solo, in the BBC TV programme Date with an Artist.
His compositions include pieces for the Austrian group Polwechsel, the Australian Elision Ensemble, the American Rova Saxophone Quartet and Penny Wands and Native String for eight reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori.
In 2008 a Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival commission led to the formation of the seven piece John Butcher Group to perform his composition somethingtobesaid.
Recent collaborative projects include the quintet Anemone with trumpeter Peter Evans, the wind trio The Contest of Pleasures with Axel Dörner and Xavier Charles, and a very new trio with Gino Robair and John Edwards.
Butcher values playing in occasional encounters — ranging from large groups such as Butch Morris’ London Skyscraper and the EX Orkestra, to duo concerts with Otomo Yoshihide, Kevin Drumm, Fred Frith, Okkyung Lee, Duck Baker, Matthew Shipp and Akio Suzuki.
Brighton (England, UK), 1954
11 June 2014