John Potter has a prolific discography reflecting his broad interests and talents as a singer, musicologist, ensemble conductor, and more.
Potter's early training was, as many British singers' is, as a choral scholar at one of the country's ancient universities. Later studies, including time with Peter Pears
, covered solo vocal repertoire, but he's always been interested in nearly every type of vocal performance, be it jazz, lute songs, or multimedia presentations of new music. Potter was a member of the Hilliard Ensemble
from 1984 to 2001, and this, plus his own ensemble Red Byrd
(founded in 1989), was the root of his reputation as an expert interpreter of early music. However, he's also been a backup singer for Manfred Mann
, Mike Oldfield
, the Who
, and others. One of the results of this wide-ranging curiosity is the Dowland Project
, recordings for ECM
in which early music singers and instrumentalists are joined by jazz musicians, giving music of the Renaissance a fresh perspective. Similarly, Potter is involved with the Hyperion
label in the Conductus project, programs with accompanying films by Michael Lynch exploring 12th and 13th century music. He's also been part of premieres of many contemporary works by composers like Gavin Bryars
, Luciano Berio
, Karlheinz Stockhausen
, and several young composers from the University of York. Beyond all of this, Potter is a scholar and teacher, editing books about singing, and notably co-authoring A History of Singing, an overview of vocal music from around the world and many eras.