“Chris Gander's music has a fresh spontaneous ecstatic joyousness that is both appealing and infectious” - Michael Finnissy, Composer
Chris Gander is a composer and performer who takes his musical inspiration from cultures other than his own: in particular, India, Persia, China and Latin America. He has lived for two years in India and for a year in Persia. In India, Chris studied sitar and tabla, and took courses in Yoga and Indian philosophy (Chris has run yoga courses for a number of years) to complete his background knowledge of Indian music. Chris continued his studies at The School of African and Oriental Studies, The University of London, where he took an M.A. in North Indian Classical Music and Aspects of Hinduism. With his aim of creating a convincing fusion between the musics of East and West, Chris has studied with Jonathan Harvey, Michael Finnissy and the Indian composer John Mayer. In his musical style Chris attempts to create a seamless fusion and a thoughtful accessibility.
At whatever level he is writing for, Chris tries to ensure that the performers are not only challenged by, but also delight in playing his music.
Chris' music has been performed in major venues and festivals throughout the UK, including the Brighton Festival (Royal Pavilion Music Room), the Komedia Theatre, Brighton, the York Late Festival, London's Wigmore Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank, Henley Festival, St. John's Smith Square, Lancing College and Dartington Hall. He has had works broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. International performances include the USA, France, Bulgaria and the Philippines.
Chris has had works performed by luminaries such as the Bingham String Quartet, the Scandinavian Flute Quartet, the pianist Michael Finnissy, the recorder players Piers Adams and Jill Kemp, the guitarists Jason Carter and Craig Ogden, the mandolin player Alison Stephens, the harpist Suzanne Willison, The English Guitar Quartet, the sitarist Dharambir Singh Padanisa and Indo Jazz Fusions, the percussionist Peter Lockett, the Talkestra and Ixion contemporary music ensembles, the Baroque chamber orchestra Red Priest, The Linos Wind Quintet and many others. He has also worked with the Alimail Palim Dance company and the Bivouac Dance company.
His compositions include: numerous works for solo and guitar ensemble; works for solo recorders, guitar and recorder, piano and recorder and a recorder concerto; a flute concerto, guitar and flute, piano and solo flute; solo piano; string quartet guitar quintet; a suite for piano trio, a flute quartet and works for chamber orchestra; sitar tabla and tambura; brass and wind Quintets; and Indo-jazz ensembles.
His most important projects to date are an hour long music/dance work, using an electronic soundscape overlayed with live musicians and dancers based on the Indian love myth Kama Deva. A CD of this work is available.
Son et Lumiere is a 45 minute work exploring how we are in unity with the environment around us and beyond. It incorporates an electronic soundscape live musicians and video graphics. A DVD is available of this work.
As well as working on major projects, Chris has worked on educational projects with both children and adults, including the creation of a music dance work for the Farnham Festival for children. Along with the educationalist Peter Ridge, Chris Gander runs drumming workshops making use of drums from around the world. Chris Gander has lectured and led workshops at Birmingham Conservatoire in the use of Indian parameters in musical composition, particularly raga and tala, and on works that make use of this. Chris has written a dissertation on the use of Indian music and concepts in Western music and thought. He is willing to undertake any form of compositional work, present workshops and perform, with his band, in the area of world music.