Academic Staff Directory

Francis Pott

Professor Francis Pott

Professor of Composition
Academic school:
Job title:
Professor of Composition
Head of Research - PhD and DMus
Higher qualifications:

MA (Cantab), Mus.B (Cantab), PhD (University of West London), FLCM in Composition (LCM), PFHEA

Professional organisations:
The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA)
Performing Rights Society (PRS)
The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS)


Francis Pott began musical life as a chorister at New College, Oxford. He held Open Music Scholarships at Winchester College and then at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he studied composition with Robin Holloway and Hugh Wood while also pursuing piano studies privately in London with the distinguished British artist, Hamish Milne.

Throughout the 1990s Francis was John Bennett Lecturer in Music at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and also a lay clerk in the Choir of Winchester Cathedral, under the directorship of Dr David Hill. In 2001 he became Head of London College of Music, University of West London, later leading research across the University’s wider Faculty of Arts and acceding in 2007 to its first ever Chair in Composition. He holds MA and postgraduate MusB degrees from the University of Cambridge, a Fellowship of London College of Music, a PhD and a Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA).

Francis has become recognised particularly for his sacred choral and organ works.  His music has been performed in concert and on radio in over forty countries and released extensively on CD on such major labels as Hyperion, Naxos, Signum, Delphian, Regent, Guild, Priory, Somm, Meridian, Herald and Decca. In 2013 he signed an exclusive agreement with Edition Peters which will see worldwide dissemination of all his future sacred choral and organ works. His piano and chamber music is published by Composers Edition and his choral and organ music has been extensively published in the past by Oxford University Press, United Music Publishers, Novello & Co. (Music Sales Ltd) and Ricordi (UK).

Winner of four national and two international composition awards, in 1997 Francis received First Prize in the piano solo section of the S.S. Prokofiev Composing Competition in Moscow, for his Toccata (dedicated to his friend, the legendary French-Canadian virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin). In 2004 he was awarded Honourable Mention in the Barlow International Award for Composition (USA), placed 2nd in a worldwide field of 362 professional composers behind his friend and compatriot, Judith Bingham. In 2006 and 2011 he was a nominated finalist in the BASCA Annual Composer Awards, staged in association with the BBC. In August 1999 A Song on the End of the World,  his oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra, named after a poem written in Nazi-occupied Warsaw by Czesław Miłosz, was the acclaimed millennial Elgar Commission of The Three Choirs Festival, held at Worcester. The work was hailed in The Times as 'thrilling music, ...contemporary and original, ...impressive and profoundly affecting', and in The Birmingham Post  as ‘a stunning première, ...apocalyptic and luminous’. In 2006 his further oratorio for tenor soloist, double chorus and organ, The Cloud of Unknowing, was acclaimed by Richard Morrison in The Times:  ‘A sincere, intelligent and admirably unsensational meditation on the darkness at the heart of man.  …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'. The work has gone on to receive international acclaim through its global release on the Signum label.

Francis Pott’s recent output includes Word, a meditative sequence for chorus and organ which interrogates the meaning and message of the Gospels in a postmodern age, and which intersperses five poems of R.S.Thomas with verses from St John’s Prologue in the New Revised Standard Version; also a large-scale Mass for eight parts. Concert works have included a song cycle setting German translations of Russian poems by Pasternak and Akhmatova and a half-hour Sonata for viola and piano; both were recorded for CD in 2014. In May 2017 Cantus Maris, a half-hour work for mezzo-soprano soloist, chorus and orchestra, received its world première at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, performed by Sarah Fryer, the London Chorus, the Vivace Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Jeremy Backhouse. Current projects include concertos for Violin and for Cor Anglais and further works for organ and piano.

Francis Pott remains active as a piano soloist, accompanist and chamber partner. He maintains a particular research interest in the oeuvre of the émigré Russian composer-pianist, Nikolai Medtner, and of the connections and differences between Medtner’s piano solo output and that of Rachmaninov. Widely recognised as the most significant British composer for the organ since Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988), he is available to supervise suitable research projects in the composition of sacred choral work and music for organ solo, and also to mentor contextual and musicological research on the wider recent and contemporary British repertoire in these areas. He also has specialist knowledge of British chamber and orchestral music of the early twentieth century


Research degree supervision:
Current supervision
Student Role in team Thesis title
Paul Borg Principal supervisor

The new Modular Instrument in Electronic-Music Mediation and Performance Practice

Jonathan Broder Second supervisor Welcome to the Future: Rewriting the paradigm of and creating new multimedia music for a post Internet world.
Ryosuke Karaki Second supervisor Unity of divergence: integrating two musical traditions through opera.
Paula Scales Second supervisor Developing movement skills in performing arts: an investigation to stimulate a more creative, imaginative and sensitive movement skill engagement through a democratically orientated approach.
Frank St John Second supervisor The symptoms of hydrocephalus and their impact on a sufferer’s ability to convey emotion during musical, vocal performance.
Chris Stanbury Principal supervisor A survey of recorded electronic organ playing 1943-2005 with reference to technological mediation in performance style and practice.