Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator and educational author. He studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Robert Saxton and Malcolm Singer and at the University of Cambridge with Robin Holloway.
His original works have been performed internationally, with performances throughout the U.K., in the U.S., Finland and Portugal, and include concert pieces for symphony orchestra, choral music, jazz, music for theatre and film, educational music and music for amateur musicians. He has received performances at venues including the Barbican Centre, Purcell Room, St. John’s Smith Square, LSO St. Luke’s, Belém Cultural Centre (Lisbon), and the Oxford Playhouse.
Christopher has been fascinated by creating scores since he was a very young child, composing and arranging music for groups of musicians to play at school. At the age of 12 he was asked to arrange for his school orchestra and by 14 he was arranging for theatre bands and received his first performance by professional musicians of an original jazz piece he had written for big band.
At the age of 18, he studied privately with Robert Saxton, during which time he wrote a concert piece for violin and marimba, entitled ‘Eclectic Fusion’. He was a finalist in the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival’s Young Composers Award (1993) with this piece, which gained a commendation and was subsequently awarded 2nd prize in the Marimolin Composition Competition (USA 1994). Also whilst an undergraduate, his work ‘The Moon Hangs on a Clouded Sky’ for chamber orchestra was selected for performance within the BBC/spnm’s Manchester Platform for Composers (1997), where it was performed by the RNCM’s New Ensemble conducted by Clark Rundell.
Other performances of his work at this time included a theatre score for the Edinburgh Fringe, a set of pieces for solo marimba, ‘In Erring Reason’s Spite’, performed by Pedro Carneiro at the Belém Cultural Centre (Lisbon), a jazz composition, ‘Halcyon Daze’, performed by the Guildhall Big Band, conducted by Scott Stroman, at the Barbican Centre (London), and the scores for theatre productions of the Euripides tragedy ‘Iphigenia at Aulis’ and a Broadway-style score for the Aristophanes comedy ‘The Birds’, both staged at the Oxford Playhouse by the Oxford University Classical Drama Society in 1999.
After gaining his M.Phil. degree in Musical Composition from Cambridge in 2000, Christopher worked as an in-house editor of classical and educational sheet music publications at Music Sales (London), leaving in 2005 to join friend and colleague, Andrew Skirrow, at Camden Music Services. Together, they have been providing a one-stop content production service to the UK’s and Europe’s leading music publishers, managing all aspects of pre-production including concept development, arranging, authoring, typesetting, design and recording production for over 400 publications.
In 2006, Christopher was selected to join the spnm’s Composers Shortlist which showcases emerging talent, with his work ‘Rhapsody for solo violin and orchestra’.
A prolific arranger, over the last eight years Christopher has been commissioned to produce over 2000 sheet music transcriptions and audio arrangements of classical music, choral music, pop, jazz and musical theatre, which have been published by the major UK, European and US publishing houses, including Novello, Chester Music, Faber Music, Hal Leonard, De Haske and A & C Black, and featured on television. His arrangements include over 40 choral pop arrangements for Novello (ranging from ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Lean On Me’ to ‘You Raise Me Up’ and ‘Shine’), a concert suite of the music from the Oscar-winning film score from ‘Atonement’ commissioned by its composer, Dario Marianelli, and many arrangements for wind orchestra, ranging from Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ to Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser Overture’.
Christopher’s transcriptions by ear include big band scores of the songs of the Rat Pack, film scores from ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ and the music of film composer Bernard Herrmann (including ‘Vertigo’, ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘North By Northwest’), and piano/voice transcriptions ranging from Nina Simone and Ray Charles to Adele.
Christopher has written much educational material (over 150 titles), including instrumental tutors for the ukulele and ocarina (Chester Music 2010), the cross-curricular educational pop songs ‘Choices’ and ‘Needs, Wants, Rights’ (A & C Black 2008), over 180 backing tracks for instrumental practice exercises (Willis Music 2012), ‘Theory Into Practice’ (Chester Music 2007), the ‘Easiest 5-Finger Piano Course’ (Wise Publications 2011), ‘The Amazing Music Funbook’ (Wise Publications 2009), and he co-authored the highly successful and innovative ‘Abracadabra Strings’ series of tutors for violin, viola and cello (2nd/3rd editions, A & C Black 2002).
In 2008, Christopher enjoyed a year-long collaboration with the amateur group, the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble and their conductor, Shea Lolin, as part of the spnm’s Adopt-A-Composer Scheme. The result was his new concert score ‘Twisted Skyscape’, originally written for over 40 woodwind instruments, which was premiered at Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios cinema, where it provided a live soundtrack to Matthew Kemp’s silent film, ‘Flux’, that it was written to accompany, in a sell-out concert!
Another collaborative highlight, also working with amateur musicians, was his work with the Deloitte Choir and their conductor Tim Crosley, resulting in their premiere of his new a cappella choral work ‘Dreamtide’ at the Purcell Room in June 2011. Following the earlier success of Christopher’s collaboration with the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble, he was commissioned by MIO (Music In Offices) Director, Tessa Marchington, to write a choral piece that would form the prize for the winners in the advanced category of the Office Choir of the Year competition 2010, the choir from the City’s business advisory firm, Deloitte.
In October 2012, the shortlist for the British Composer Award was announced by BASCA, and Christopher was nominated for an award in the Making Music Award category (for works for voluntary, amateur or youth choirs and ensembles) for his a cappella choral work ‘Dreamtide’.