James Butt music manuscripts

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Music manuscripts of works by James Butt.

Administrative / Biographical History

Butt was born at Northwood, Middlesex in 1929. He was educated in Yorkshire before studying composition, from 1944 onwards, with Dr Erwin Stein, Benjamin Britten and Matyas Seiber and pianoforte with Franz Osborne. From 1947 to 1948 he served with the RAF, and then went to the Dartington School of Music, where he completed his studies under the supervision of Imogen Holst. On leaving Dartington Hall in 1952 Butt's first published work was the part-song Orpheus, distributed by Novello and company. From 1952 he toured England with the Continental Ballet Company playing as first pianist before leaving to take up the post of deputy headmaster of Cary Park School, Torquay, in 1954. James Butt began publishing his own music under the 'Sphemusations' imprint in 1963. A dedicated Christian Scientist, his sacred solos for high voice and organ are now performed in many churches. He was a conductor of the Woodbridge orchestra.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation. Please email enquiries@brittenpears.org to arrange an appointment to visit the reading room or for further queries.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Butt's widow in 2009.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is catalogued: the catalogue can be accessed on the Britten-Pears Foundation's online archive catalogue - accessed from the Search the catalogues page on the BPF website.