Chris Williams began his musical career at the age of eight as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Having won a scholarship to study Music at New College, Oxford, he went on to study postgraduate composition with Alfred Nieman, and piano with John Yorke, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several prestigious prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Prize for composition.
His compositions range from children’s songs to large scale choral and orchestral works, such as the Tsunami Requiem, an enormously moving and intense work, to his Gloria where he demonstrates his great versitility; scoring the work for large choir and orchestra and steel drums. His first foray into Youth Music Theatre was an adaptation of “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling for the Lawrence School, Sanawar, in India, which toured the whole country in 1981.
In 2002, he returned to India as Composer-in-Residence at the Lawrence School and wrote another musical, “The Coolie’s Tale”, to celebrate the centenary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway. In between, he has collaborated with the writer and director, Nick Stimson, on many prize-winning music theatre works, such as “Brother Jacques’, “StarChild” and Korczak”, many of which were first performed by the Young Company at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, with Chris as Musical Director. As Musician-in-Residence at the Beaford Centre, Devon, he was also the first music animateur to be appointed by the Arts Council, 1985-8.
For the past six years he has lived in Bangalore, earning his living as a pianist playing western classical music. India has inspired him compose a number of works, including “Tsunami Requiem” and the “Songs of the Coromandel Coast” which was premièred at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in May 2008, by the English Philharmonia and Chorus, with James Gilchrist tenor and Graham Wili conductor.
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