John Potter
Musician & Author

John Potter is a singer, author and vocal ensemble coach. His books on singing are published by Cambridge and Yale University Press; his current book is Song: a History in 12 Parts (Yale UP, 2023). He records for ECM and is Reader Emeritus in Music at the University of York, UK.


John Potter's multifarious musical collaborators have included Alternative History (with lutenists Ariel Abramovich & Jacob Heringman and soprano Anna Maria Friman) and the Dowland Project (John Surman saxophones, Milos Valent violin & viola and Jacob Heringman lute); both ensembles record for ECM. John's eclectic performing experience has ranged from first performances of works by Berio, Stockhausen, James Dillon, Arvo Pärt, Gavin Bryars and Michael Finnissy to backing vocals for Manfred Mann and The Who (among others). Red Byrd, the group he founded with bass Richard Wistreich, recorded music as diverse as Monteverdi (both straight and with electric guitars), Leonin (3 albums for Hyperion) and John Paul Jones (for Factory Records); with the Conductus Ensemble he made three further albums of 12th century music for Hyperion, and as a member of the Anglo-German ensemble The Sound & the Fury, made a dozen albums of rarely-heard Franco-Flemish polyphony. His most recent albums for ECM include music by Josquin, Victoria, Tony Banks, John Paul Jones and Sting.

John was a member of the Hilliard Ensemble for 18 years and was a major contributor to their million-selling Officium album with saxophonist Jan Garbarek. Moving on from the group he spent ten years as a lecturer at the University of York, leaving as Reader Emeritus to develop his freelance performing, recording and writing projects.

Photo: Guy Carpenter

Concerts & Bookings

For concerts worldwide, John Potter, The Alternative History Quartet and The Dowland Project are represented by:

Robert White Artist Management

182 Moselle Avenue


Tel: + 44 (0)208 881 6914


Email John Potter

For all other enquiries please email John Potter directly using the contact form below: