Francis Pott

Francis Pott

Francis Pott [b.1957] began musical life as a chorister at New College, Oxford. He held Music Scholarships at Winchester College and at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he studied composition with Robin Holloway and Hugh Wood while pursuing piano studies privately in London with the distinguished British artist, Hamish Milne. After several years teaching within the independent secondary sector, throughout the 1990s he was John Bennett Lecturer in Music at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and a lay clerk in the Choir of Winchester Cathedral under Dr David Hill. In 2001 he became Head of London College of Music, University of West London, from 2002 leading research across the University's Faculty of Arts and in 2007 acceding to its first Chair in Composition. He also holds a Ph.D.

Francis has become recognised particularly for his sacred choral and organ compositions, which have been performed and broadcast in over three dozen countries worldwide, published widely in the UK and released extensively on CD. Winner of 4 national composition awards during the 1980s, in 1997 he received 1st Prize in the piano solo section of the Prokofiev Composing Competition, Moscow. In 2004 he received Honourable Mention in the Barlow International Composition Award, USA, placed second in a worldwide field of 362 composers. In 2006 and 2011 he was a nominated finalist in the BASCA/BBC Annual Composer Awards.

In 1991 the monumental Christus, a 2-hour Passion Symphony in 5 movements for organ, received its world premiere from Iain Simcock at Westminster Cathedral. It was hailed by Musical Opinion in 1992 as 'truly sensational, clearly one of the major works for organ in our century', and by The Times in 2001: 'an astonishingly original composition, compelling in its structural logic and exhilarating in performance, a stupendous achievement'. In 1999 the choral and orchestral oratorio, A Song on the End of the World (taking its title from a poem written by Czesław Miłosz in Nazi-occupied Warsaw) was the nationally-acclaimed Elgar Commission of the Three Choirs Festival, Worcester, reported in The Times as 'thrilling music, ...contemporary and original, ...impressive and profoundly affecting', and in The Birmingham Post as 'a stunning premiere, ...apocalyptic and luminous'. In 2006 another oratorio, The Cloud of Unknowing (for tenor solo, double chorus and organ) was variously described in the national press as 'unmissable, an apocalyptic masterpiece' and 'an eloquent, hugely compelling work of great importance'. In The Times Richard Morrison wrote of 'a sincere, intelligent and admirably unsensational meditation on the darkness at the heart of man', adding that 'one sometimes writes, hyperbolically, of a performance moving one to tears. But at the end of Francis Pott's The Cloud of Unknowing, genuine tears were shed'.

Francis is in continued demand as a piano soloist and accompanist. Active in academic research, he is an authority on the music of the exiled Russian composer/pianist Nikolai Medtner, on whom he is writing an extended critical study. Francis lives with his wife and two children in a village on the outskirts of Winchester.

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Francis Pott
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