Chris Gordon is a composer, writer on music and music publisher who lives and works in west London. His varied career includes working for a merchant bank, teaching clarinet in south London schools, teaching music in a secondary school in south-east London, music-copying for a number of publishers and composers and working as a senior administrator in a large music industry organisation. He now concentrates of writing fiction and is currently engaged upon a collection of short stories which often have music at their heart.
He received encouragement from Frau Professor Elsa Schiller who founded the ‘RIAS’ (Radio in the American Sector) Orchestra (now the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester), Berlin. As head of Production at Deutsche Grammophon in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Frau Professor Schiller started or assisted the recording careers of many famous singers, instrumentalists and conductors such as Geza Anda, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christa Ludwig, Wolfgang Schneiderhahn and Martha Argerich – to name but a few!
Chris started Janus Music (later renamed Cool Wind Music) in the 1980s, concentrating on publishing music mainly for wind instruments aimed at younger players and non-professionals. His ethos as a publisher was to provide music that is challenging and, at the same time, satisfying to play. It even gets played in public occasionally!
Chris has collaborated with saxophone soloist and teacher, Gerard McChrystal (Professor of Saxophone at Trinity-Laban College of Music and Dance, London), on works for saxophone. This has led to several performances of Septettin’ for saxophone ensemble at a number of Gerard's summer schools and at Trinity-Laban College of Music. Gerard workshopped another of Chris’s saxophone works, Sonata semplice for saxophone quartet, at Little Benslow. Septettin’ has also been performed by the Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble under the direction of Kyle Horch, Royal College of Music Professor of Saxophone.
If Not Now, When?, a work for chamber ensemble based on the revolutionary compositional discoveries of the Second Viennese School (Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg), was performed at the Warehouse, London by the Warehouse Ensemble, conducted by Edwin Roxburgh, on 16 June 2007. It was a chosen work in the Warehouse Ensemble’s 2007 Composition Project made possible by funds from the Maingot Charitable Trust.
A selection of Chris Gordon’s music can be listened to and read about here.
An Leukon, an early song by Alban Berg which Chris has arranged for soprano and string orchestra, received its world première with Berg’s more familiar Seven Early Songs at a BBC Proms concert on 6 August 2007, sung by Renée Fleming accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. It has been performed three times by Petra Lang (mezzo-soprano) with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding. Chris has orchestrated three additional early Alban Berg songs for Universal Edition: Die Sorglichen (1907), Schließe mir die Augen beide(1907)and Das stille Königreich (1908).
Chris has discovered that An Leukon may have meant more to Berg and his wife, Helene, than has been realised in the past. An essay about the song can be downloaded at here.