Adrian is a violinist, director and conductor who specialises in performing music from 1600-1900 on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and Associate Director of the London Handel Festival and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and Players as well as working as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America with modern and period ensembles.
Born in London, he started playing the violin at the age of four, was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral and went on to read music at Trinity College, Cambridge and study as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music.
He has conducted the major choral works of Bach as well as Handel's Israel in Egypt at St. George's, Hanover Square and La Resurrezione at Wigmore Hall, and has directed ensembles such as the London Mozart Players, the Croatian Baroque Ensemble in Zagreb and the Theatre of Early Music in Canada.
He is a founder-member of the London Handel Players who perform regularly at Wigmore Hall and throughout Europe and North America. They made their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014 and return to North America in the autumn of 2017. They have recorded several discs of Handel’s chamber music which have been highly acclaimed. The Revolutionary Drawing Room specialises in classical and romantic music on period instruments and has also performed in North America and Europe. A recording of quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal and Dittersdorf, A Viennese Quartet Party, was released by RDR to coincide with their 25th anniversary in 2015 and Mozart’s Flute Quartets with Rachel Brown in 2016. Other recent CD releases include Mozart's Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson on Clarinet Classics and Geminiani's Op.1 sonatas (SOMM) by LHP in 2012. Adrian's world premiere complete recordings of Leclair's Books 1 and 2 violin sonatas were released in 2009 and 2013 on Naxos Records.
He directs a project annually with the Southbank Sinfonia, is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music in London, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and will be teaching on the Dartington Summer School in August and the Pro Corda Conservatoire Baroque Course in Suffolk in September.
Recent appearances include two broadcasts by BBC Radio 3, one in which he directed a ‘Handel and his European Connections’ programme with the London Handel Orchestra at Wigmore Hall and one with the London Handel Players at the Brighton Early Music Festival. In the London Handel Festival he conducted Handel’s Dixit Dominus and also the Chandos Te Deum in the church at Cannons for which it was written. He conducted the B minor Mass again at the Tilford Bach Festival in 2016 which was repeated at St. John’s, Smith Square in London.
Plans for the 2016/17 season include conducting and directing the London Handel Orchestra in Mozart’s C minor Mass and D major Violin Concerto and Bach’s St. John Passion as well as performing and recording some of Handel’s Chandos works, the making of a baroque dance video with the London Handel Players and a return with them to Wigmore Hall as well as the beginning of a complete Beethoven quartet cycle at St. John’s, Smith Square with the Revolutionary Drawing Room. He also made his debut with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2016 in a programme of Handel and Mozart.
“How does a critic begin to describe the most perfectly performed musical experience in many years? By listing, of course, in a roll of honour, those who created it, beginning with the masterly Adrian Butterfield, whose sure direction (from the violin) and complete immersion in the idiom was undoubtedly responsible for the exceptional quality of the performance.”
Barry Creasy, musicOMH St. Matthew Passion, St. John’s, Smith Square, London 17th June 2015
"Technically and musically, Butterfield is a marvel"
Julie Anne Sadie, Gramophone Magazine, Leclair Book 2, Sept 2013