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Chris Williams : Associate Artist

Music exists in moments of absolute, unutterable stillness, and ecstasy. Composition lures us towards these ineffable raptures through exploration and revelation, the balance of unity and ambiguity and the confluence of formal construction with the sensual.

Random Audio Sample: Two episodes for solo piano (solo piano) by Chris Williams, from the CD Narratives and detours

Photo of Chris Williams


Chris Williams (1986) completed his Master's in Composition at the University of Oxford in 2013, studying under Robert Saxton. He is also a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2012 Williams was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, where his work San-Shih-Fan was premiered. During this time he worked with composer-in residence Kaija Saariaho. Previously, Williams was one of only six composers worldwide to be selected by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, to attend his Advanced Composition course at the Dartington International Summer School, England. His work has been performed by The Song Company, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the BBC singers, the Cavaleri Quartet and The Australian Voices, with whom he was composer-in-residence in 2010.

In November 2012, Williams was awarded the Blake Society's Tithe Grant for composition. This international prize, adjudicated by Judith Weir, culminated in the premiere of his piece a golden string, at St.James Piccadilly, conducted by Aidan Oliver. Also in 2012 he was selected for the Tenso Young Composers workshop, held in Sweden, as part of the Nordic Music Days, where his music was workshopped by Eric Ericsons Kammark├Âr under the guidance of James Wood. More recently, Williams was awarded the Joyful Company of Singers Young Composer Prize.

In 2011 Williams featured as an emerging artist with Speak Percussion in Melbourne, Halcyon in Sydney and was the winner of the youth section in the Jean Bogan Memorial Prize for Piano Composition. In September 2010 his work of silence into silence, a setting of Australian poet Judith Wright, was premiered by Nicole Thompson and Brad Gill as part of the Judith Wright Project. At the same event, Williams conducted the premiere of Gill's Patterns, recorded by the ABC.

His major compositional mentor has been Nigel Butterley, with whom he has studied privately for a number of years. In 2010 Williams was recognised as the recipient of an ArtStart grant from the Australian Council for the Arts, given to outstanding emerging artists.

Chris Williams — current to February 2014

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2010 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition Winner Youth Prize (Inaugural) Two episodes for solo piano

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Lines at Infinity : for string orchestra (2016) Commissioned by David Angell.
Digital sheet music sample three horizons : for violin and piano (2016) Commissioned by Rebecca Gill as winner of the Fine Music 102.5 Stefan Kruger Scholarship 2015
Digital sheet music sample (Philadelphia) sky sketch : for two trios (2016) Written for 'The Brass Project' with thanks to Nick DiBerardino
Scilla autumnalis : for orchestra (2014) Commissioned by the New Bristol Sinfonia, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Clifton Suspension Bridge
birds(unfalling) : for solo soprano and string sextet (2013) Commissioned by The Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity as part of the Rhapsody Composing Project, 2013
Digital sheet music sample A Pattern Music : for viola (or violin), guitar and piano (2013) Commissioned by strung out trio.

Analysis & Media

- Program note: You In The Night Chris Williams