Chris Williams: Composer

Chris Williams has composed several pieces of music for Berkhamsted Choral Society.  We were delighted to commission a new work again in Spring 2011, and very much enjoyed premiering The Cloud, based on Shelley’s poem of the same name, in May (and the capacity audience loved it too!).

Chris 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 and piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several prestigious prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Prize for composition.

He has lived in India since 2002, firstly as Composer-in-Residence at the Lawrence School, Sanawar, for whom he wrote a musical play, The Coolie’s Tale, to celebrate the centenary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway.  Back in 1981 he had written a musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim for the school, which toured all of India.

In 2004, he moved to Bangalore, and has earned his living by playing the piano, and, by accident, has become an actor and model, appearing in two Bollywood films, corporate films and adverts.  In 2004, he was Musical Director of Stand Up, Noah Small!, performed by children from 19 schools in Bangalore.  In 2008, his Songs of the Coromandel Coast and Tsunami Requiem were performed at the Royal Festival Hall, London, by the English Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, of which Berkhamsted Choral Society is part.  Over 500 children from Solihull sang his Stage Songs in the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.  Recently, English Philharmonia published Chris’s Nowell! Nowell!, a Christmas resource for choirs, along with a CD.

Chris was the first ‘animateur’ to be appointed by the Arts Council in 1985 as Musician-in-Residence at the Beaford Centre.  Of his music theatre works for young people, Brother Jacques, Monkey, StarChild and Korczak have won major awards.  Korczak is to be produced by Youth Music Theatre UK at The Rose in Kingston this summer.  Several of his songs for children are published in Singing Sherlock by Boosey & Hawkes.

A thriving, 100-strong mixed voice choir. Friendly, welcoming, non-auditioned but high achieving.