Christopher Watson studied music at Exeter University, and went on to hold lay clerkships at Durham, Oxford and latterly Westminster Cathedrals. He now lives in Oxford and divides his time between solo singing, consort work and conducting.
Solo performances have included Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Masaaki Suzuki, his Köthener Trauermusik with the Lautten Compagney, recorded for broadcast by Deutschlandfunk, and Purcell’s Ode for St Cecilia in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the Gabrieli Consort. He has collaborated with Trevor Pinnock in concerts of Purcell Welcome Odes in the Handel Festival in Halle, and has given many performances of the Evangelist role in Bach’s Passions, the St John in the Cathedral of the Madeleine Salt Lake City, Merton College Oxford, and the Cathedrals of Christ Church Oxford, Manchester, Canterbury, Exeter, Lichfield and Durham, and the St Matthew in St German’s Priory, the University Church in Oxford, Reading Town Hall, Christ Church Oxford and the Philharmonie in Berlin.
In 2007 he made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York with Theatre of Voices and Paul Hillier, giving the world premiere of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, which subsequently won a Pulitzer Prize. He has performed the Little Match Girl Passion all over the world, including the Perth Festival in Australia and the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato in Mexico, and the Theatre of Voices recording of the piece won a Grammy Award.
Other engagements include the first performances of The Stones of the Arch by Gavin Bryars and a series of pieces by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen with the Kronos Quartet and London Sinfonietta, Monteverdi’s Vespers in Tuscany with Philippe Herreweghe, and in Denmark and Sweden with Paul Hillier and Concerto Copenhagen. He has made more than 100 recordings, including several discs of Dufay and Josquin, the Schütz Resurrection History with Ars Nova Copenhagen, Lassus motets and Penitential Psalms with Philippe Herreweghe, the Bach Motets with Sette Voci and Peter Kooij, the 1575 Cantiones Sacrae of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd with Alamire and Lassus’s Lagrime di San Pietro with Gallicantus. With Theatre of Voices he has given performances of Stockhausen’s Stimmung, and with them recorded Berio’s A-Ronne and Pärt’s Stabat Mater for Harmonia Mundi USA. He released his first solo recording, of British and American Art Song in 2010, and launched it at a series of recitals in Canada. Christopher has made several appearances at the Proms in London and has performed in Cathedrals and concert halls all over the world, from San Marco in Venice and Notre Dame in Paris to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Sydney Opera House and Lincoln Center in New York.
Christopher is also a member of The Tallis Scholars, with whom he has made more than 400 appearances, Tenebrae and Gallicantus. He has also worked as chorus master for Ars Nova Copenhagen and Coro Casa da Música in Porto, and directs Sospiri, a chamber choir based in Oxford, with whom he has made 6 recordings alongside their regular program of concerts in and around Oxford. He is also the Director of Music at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he directs the chapel choir and organizes a series of concerts. (2016)