Chris is a Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist, praised for his ‘breathtaking sensitivity’ (Gramophone), ‘irrepressible energy, wit and finesse’ (The Guardian), ‘perfect fusion of voice and piano’ (BBC Music Magazine) and as ‘an inspired programmer’ (The Times). He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, programming around sixty events each year in beautiful and historic venues across North Yorkshire.
He appears in recital with many leading artists, including Sir Thomas Allen, John Mark Ainsley, Benjamin Appl, Mary Bevan, Sophie Bevan, Julian Bliss, Claire Booth, Ian Bostridge, Adrian Brendel, Susan Bullock, Allan Clayton, Michael Collins, Dame Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Sophie Daneman, Joshua Ellicott, Bernarda Fink, Matthew Gee, Steven Isserlis, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Christiane Karg, Jonas Kaufmann, Yvonne Kenny, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, James Newby, Mark Padmore, Ian Partridge, Rowan Pierce, Rachel Podger, Joan Rodgers, Kate Royal, Kathryn Rudge, Nicky Spence, Toby Spence, Bryn Terfel, Sir John Tomlinson, Robin Tritschler, Ailish Tynan, Adam Walker, Roderick Williams, Elizabeth Watts and many others. He also plays chamber music with ensembles such as the Albion, Brodsky, Elias and Heath Quartets, and works regularly with choirs including The Sixteen.
Chris grew up in Leicester and read music at New College, Oxford, before studying piano with John Streets in France and Malcolm Martineau at the Royal Academy of Music, where he now teaches. His many awards include the accompaniment prize in the 2001 Kathleen Ferrier competition, the 2003 Gerald Moore Award and the 2002 Geoffrey Parsons Award. A regular artist at Wigmore Hall, Chris has also appeared in major concert venues and festivals throughout the world, including at the BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder Festivals, Royal Opera House, Barbican, Southbank Centre, Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus and as far afield as Japan, China, Brazil, Russia and Sri Lanka. He has made many CD recordings on labels including Signum, Hyperion, Decca, DG and Coro, and is regularly heard on BBC Radio 3.
An interest in bringing classical song to a wider audience recently led Chris to commission Jeremy Sams to create new English translations of Schubert’s song cycles. The Fair Maid of the Mill, Winter Journey and Swansong have been performed widely and recorded for Signum Records. Chris also enjoys working with young musicians and is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. He leads masterclasses for the Samling Foundation and Britten Pears School and is invited to adjudicate many international competitions. Away from the piano, Chris is President of Chiltern Arts and a Vice-President of Music in Hospitals and Care.
Recent highlights include performing the Schubert song cycles with Roderick Williams (including a nationwide schools tour of Winter Journey), CDs exploring the music of Grieg, Percy Grainger, Donald Swann, Eric Coates and Hamilton Harty, and The Passion project with Streetwise Opera. Future plans include further collaborations with Jeremy Sams (Schumann and Wolf songs) and Streetwise Opera, CD recordings with Nicky Spence, Kathryn Rudge, Claire Booth and The Sixteen, leading masterclasses for the Britten Pears School, a tour of Wolf’s Italian Songbook, and embarking on a project with Rachel Podger to perform and record (for Channel Classics) Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas.