Biography


The one version I’m expected to do…

Born in Cornwall, UK in 1978, Chris is a freelance composer, arranger, orchestrator and consultant. 

A multi-instrumentalist, he learnt piano, guitar, brass and percussion from a young age, studying with excellent and inspiring teachers which have contributed to his passion and commitment to music.

Chris studied composition and orchestration with composers Patric Standford and Paul McKinley with further work under, amongst others, Dr Mick Wilson and Prof Alan Williams during his Masters in Composition work at the University of Salford – Manchester.

Chris’ works have recently been performed, commisioned or are scheduled to be performed by diverse ensembles such as:

  • Manchester Camerata – Chamber Orchestra (UK)
  • Harlequin Chamber Choir – SATB (UK)
  • Izhevsk Chamber Choir – SATB (Russia)
  • Parkrose High School – SATB Choir (Portland OR, US)
  • Coro Baba Yetu – SATB Choir (Rome, Italy)
  • Halit Kasapolli Choir – SATB (Peje, Kosovo)
  • Newstead Abbey Singers – SATB Choir (UK)
  • Arsa Nova Koro – Choir (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • AA Giannitsa – Choir (Pella, Greece)
  • Nottinghamshire Police Band – Concert Band (UK)
  • Bagong Himig Serenata – SATB Choir (Manilla, Philippines)
  • Ema Potevska & Branco Pavlovski – Piano/Clarinet (Skopje, Macedonia)
  • University of Warsaw – SATB Choir (Poland)
  • Cranborune Chorale – SATB Choir (Melbourne, AUS)
  • Brandon Symphony Orchestra (Canada)
  • Accragio – SATB Choir (Accra, Ghana)
  • John A Ferguson Falcon Singers (Florida, US)
  • Cantelentia – SATB Choir (Austria)
  • FMV Ayazağa – Choir (Turkey)
  • Many other choir, chamber and instrumental performances around the world including UK, US, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, India, Brazil, Israel and beyond!

Chris was commissioned to write a large amount of pieces for Trinity College London’s Music Tracks syllabus and was commissioned to re-design their improvisation option for practical exams. He also provided consultancy on their own composition option, and rewrote the aural tests and sight singing books amongst other compositional services for the board.

Increasingly in demand as an arranger, recent clients include several choir and commercial publishers, orchestras and also the Royal Opera House. Get in touch with your requirements. 

An Associate of Trinity College London, he is also an experienced teacher, musical director, accompanist and session musician, working with theatre companies, performing arts groups, media companies and schools in a wide range of genres.

Chris tutors undergraduates at the OCA ( The Open College of the Arts ), a distance learning Higher Education organisation which is part of the University of the Creative Arts, and blogs on music issues with the other music staff on WeAreOCA. He co-wrote their Foundation Course in Music, and other undergraduate BA Music modules.

Chris is also currently organist at St Michael’s South Normanton, St Helen’s Selston, St Peter’s Ravenshead and St Mary’s Newstead Abbey Chapel, and is available for freelance work in and around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas.

Current compositional services include writing for:

Musical Theatre

Concert Music (Choir, Orchestral, Chamber, Instrumental)

Education and Examination Music

Sacred/Liturgical/Worship

Other work can also be provided, including:

  • Arrangements
  • Orchestrations
  • Midi mock-ups
  • Recording and Session Work
  • Transcriptions and Take-Downs
  • Teaching/Mentoring/Student Support (from GCSE to HE)
  • Educational Consultancy, Development and Testing

Do get in contact with your requirements HERE.

Other projects currently underway include: a work for Saxophone & Fixed Media, a work for saxophone choir, a collection of Christmas music arrangements, various educational books for publishing, and an exceptionally exciting new musical, After It Rains, alongside lyricist Samantha Joy. 

Sheet music can be purchased via this site or at Moonhouse Music, Amazon, Masquerade Music, Sheet Music Plus and JW Pepper, with more publishers and distributors to be announced in 2023 when a major review of catalogue work is due to be completed.

Chris lives in Derbyshire with his wife (and fellow composer) Keri Degg and their dog Lola.

My version…

The older I get, the more uncomfortable I get about the level of pretension required to work as anything in the music industry, hence my aversion to biographies. Suffice to say, I’ve always loved music and despite growing up in the nether regions of Cornwall, I was fortunate to have a lot of music making opportunities, mostly thanks to some very supportive teachers. No, it wasn’t high end music making, but I loved every minute of it. Fantastic people and fun, genuine music.

I consider myself very lucky to have been tutored and supported by some fantastically talented teachers during my undergrad and masters, and been on the receiving end of a great deal of musical wisdom and insight in the process. Freelance work has been kind to me, and instead of chasing ever decreasing pots of Arts Council money in order to produce better, more complicated, more worthy or convoluted pieces, I’ve been able to sustain myself in commercial music and publishing, making music that sells in the concert and educational markets. I love it, truly. What better to write or arrange music that people will use…a lot! This has led to some quite snobbish and snarky comments over the years, mostly from other musicians, but I’m comfortable with what I do.

What I have always prized has been genuine day-to-day music making, the absolute love of doing a job well, the joy in learning a craft from other masters of their art and above all, the freedom that comes from having no expectations placed on you by family and friends etc. Yes, I’ve had neurotic moments of doubt (as have all musicians) but there’s a tremendous peace in just doing something you love because you love it.

Speaking of which, I love musical theatre and I adore writing choral music, but sadly I don’t do it as much as I perhaps should. Who knows, maybe this year I’ll finally finish that Mass setting? I never set out to write choral music (I wanted to write brass and concert band) and I always joke with students that choral music chose me. I guess that’s the way with specialisms sometimes – it’s not in your hands!

I spend a lot of my working life accompanying, whether it be choirs, singers, or church services. This I really enjoy as it keeps me grounded and connected with others, rather than sat in a darkened room composing or arranging all the time.

As with many things, in the end it comes down to balance – music is wonderful, clever and moving…but it’s not that important really. Hence why you’ll more often than not find me in the garden, cooking, out walking, or with family and friends, trying desperately not to climb the mythical greasy ladder of success at the expense of missing the beautiful things and people around me.

If you’re reading this because you’ve heard or bought some of my music: thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re helping to keep things moving and to keep more music written and released. You’re quite simply amazing! If you’re performing anything, do get in touch, it’s fantastic to hear from anyone who is enjoying the music!