Chris is a Grammy award-winning pianist and one of the UK’s best-known collaborative pianists and chamber musicians. He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, where he programmes around 60 events each year in beautiful and historic venues across North Yorkshire.
Praised for his ‘breathtaking sensitivity’ (Gramophone), ‘irrepressible energy, wit and finesse’ (The Guardian) and ‘revelatory performances’ (BBC Music Magazine), Chris has appeared in recital with singers including Sir Thomas Allen, John Mark Ainsley, Benjamin Appl, Fleur Barron, Claire Booth, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Dame Sarah Connolly, Joshua Ellicott, Bernarda Fink, Dame Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Christiane Karg, Jonas Kaufmann, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, Mark Padmore, Ian Partridge, Rowan Pierce, Joan Rodgers, Kate Royal, Kathryn Rudge, Nicky Spence, Toby Spence, Michael Spyres, Bryn Terfel, Sir John Tomlinson, Robin Tritschler, Ailish Tynan, Roderick Williams and many others.
He has also performed with instrumentalists including Julian Bliss, Andrej Bielow, Adrian Brendel, Michael Collins, Nicholas Daniel, David Garrett, Daniel Hope, Steven Isserlis, Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Adam Walker; with ensembles including the Elias, Heath, Albion, Brodsky and Maxwell Quartets, Britten Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra; and with choirs including The Sixteen and VOCES8. Chris also performs on historic pianos with artists including Rachel Podger, with whom he has recorded Mozart and Beethoven sonatas.
Chris grew up in Leicester, read music at New College, Oxford, and studied piano with John Streets and Malcolm Martineau. He was awarded the accompaniment prize in the 2001 Kathleen Ferrier competition, the 2002 Geoffrey Parsons Award and the 2003 Gerald Moore Award. In 2021, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
Since making his debut at Wigmore Hall in 2001, Chris has performed in major venues and festivals throughout the world, including the BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Royal Opera House, Barbican, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder Festivals, and as far afield as Japan, Brazil, China and South Asia. He is regularly heard on BBC Radio 3 and has made many acclaimed and ground-breaking recordings on labels including Signum, Hyperion, Decca, DG, Coro, Chandos and Somm.
Recognised by The Times as a ‘visionary’ and ‘inspired programmer’, Chris has devised several concert series for the Wigmore Hall and curated projects for several international festivals. In 2015, he founded Polyhymnia to bring classical song to a wider audience, initially by commissioning Jeremy Sams to create new English versions of song cycles by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf. These have been performed widely (including on a nationwide schools tour with Roderick Williams) and recorded for Signum Records.
Chris enjoys working with young musicians and is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. He gives masterclasses for the Samling Foundation, Britten Pears School and Oxford Lieder Festival, and has adjudicated many international competitions. Chris is also Vice-President of Music in Hospitals and Care, and Artistic Advisor to the Richard Shephard Foundation, which brings musical opportunities to children in the north of England.
Recent and future highlights include recording the piano soundtrack to the film Altamira (starring Antonio Banderas), giving the first performance of a newly-discovered work by Mendelssohn on BBC Radio 4, collaborations with the Richard Alston Dance Company and Streetwise Opera, a world premiere by Eric Whitacre, a tour of the USA with soprano Rowan Pierce, and recitals and recording projects with Roderick Williams, Kathryn Rudge, Claire Booth and Nicky Spence and Rachel Podger.