Chris Swithinbank was born in Voorburg, The Netherlands, in 1988, to British parents and spent most of his childhood living in Luxembourg. Studying first cello, he began to experiment with composition at the age of 12, receiving his first public performance aged 16 at the Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster as part of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Chris moved to Britain to study music at the University of Manchester, graduating in July 2009 with a First-Class Honours Degree. During his time as an undergraduate he received composition tuition from Dr. Kevin Malone, Dr. Richard Whalley, Dr. Ricardo Climent and Professor John Casken, and continued to expand his knowledge and understanding of music from all periods, especially the contemporary, undertaking research into the string quartets of Helmut Lachenmann for his final dissertation for which he was awarded a Hargreaves Fund Prize. Following his bachelor’s degree, Chris continued his studies at Manchester under the supervision of Ricardo Climent and supported by a Harry Clough Bursary, graduating with distinction from the MusM Masters in Composition course. Alongside his academic studies, Chris has also participated in masterclasses and private lessons with Marco Stroppa, Krzysztof Meyer, Pierluigi Billone, Rebecca Saunders and Beat Furrer. From September 2011 Chris has been selected to continue his studies on the prestigious Cursus 1 at Ircam in Paris.

Chris works with both acoustic instruments and electronic sounds, exploring traditional concert situations and more innovative presentation contexts. His music has been workshopped by Manchester Camerata, Richard Casey, Ian Pace, Eva Furrer and the Quatuor Danel and has recently been performed at Kings Place, Royal Academy of Music, Encuentros Cuenca, Wrexham Arts Festival, MANTIS Festival, York Spring Festival of New Music and New Music North West, as well as by flute, voice and cello group Trio Atem and new music ensemble Psappha. For 2010-11, Chris was selected to take part in the Adopt a Composer scheme supported by Sound and Music, PRS for Music Foundation, Making Music and BBC Radio 3, collaborating with the King Edward Musical Society of Macclesfield on a new orchestral work, June Unfolding, to be premiered on 18 June 2011.

Chris is a co-founder of Raise Your Voice Collective, a group of young performers and composers based in Manchester, UK. He has appeared as a performer of live electronics in music by Martin Suckling, Kaija Saariaho, Anna Clyne, Lyle Mays and Fredrik Högberg, with both the Raise Your Voice Ensemble and Psappha Ensemble. He has also undertaken musicological research, giving an illustrated talk on Helmut Lachenmann’s Gran Torso with the Quatuor Danel. ‘Into the Lion’s Den: Helmut Lachenmann at 75’ will be published in Tempo this July.

Last updated: 6 May 2011