Chris Williams


Chris Williams (1986) is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed a M.Phil in composition with Robert Saxton at the University of Oxford in 2013. In 2012 Chris 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, Chris was one of six composers selected by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, then Master of the Queen’s Music, to attend his Advanced Composition course at the Dartington International Summer School in England. His work has been performed by The Song Company, The Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Cavaleri Quartet and The Australian Voices, with whom he was composer-in-residence in 2010.

In November 2012, Chris 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, of Westminster Abbey. Chris was also awarded the Joyful Company of Singers’ Young Composer Prize, and was recently commissioned by the New Bristol Sinfonia. In 2015 he is the inaugural Friends of the National Library of Australian Creative Arts Fellow. Chris is an associate artist at the Australian Music Centre.

Composer website:

Featured Works

birds (unfalling), for soprano and string sextet.

‘birds(unfalling)’ is a musical motion study. Inspired by Sian Tucker’s vast mobile, ‘Falling Leaves’, it responds by creating a feeling of perpetual ascent amongst the leaves. It was commissioned by The Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity as part of the Rhapsody Composing Project and forms part of the interactive audio tour of the hospital. An app including images of the mobile, the piece, and complete tour can be downloaded here:

Featured in Playlist 8 – String Waves, 31/08/2015

Beautiful Lines for string quartet.

Beautiful Lines contemplates a single musical line, imposed on itself in a myriad of different forms and relations. The effect is an aural moiré pattern. Though a single undulating line permeates the piece, superimposition creates textures of emergent shapes and lines. At one moment towards the end of the piece, a chorale based on this single line suddenly emerges. This too dissolves back into undulating lines, eventually moving to the highest register of the quartet.

Featured in the playlist: Small Ensemble Waves (1/3/2016)