I grew up in Derry, which is situated in the North of Ireland. Around the age of 14 I decided to try composing, mainly because of films and videogames (the first album I ever owned was Aliens). I spent much of my teens using a Roland XP-30 to compose orchestral music and pretending that I had film scoring deadlines to meet. I wanted to be a working composer.
By the age of 18 I still wanted to be a composer, so I decided to go to university to study composition. Here I was exposed to various artistic philosophies and a wide range of music spanning about 500 years. This exposure expanded my palette and I began to engage with more experimental techniques and develop my aesthetic preferences.
I embarked on a PhD programme and ended up writing a PhD that combined practice, philosophy and cultural sociology to discuss my position as a young composer trying to become a professional. In terms of composition, I found myself working in theatre (particularily experimental arts theatre, where I also did some visual work), classical concert music and videogame music. The variation of experience and process found across each keeps me interested and challenged.
Creative work is really important to me. Collaborative projects are by far the most rewarding. I get to work with others to tell stories, create atmosphere and mood, play with narrative, discuss ideas of emotion and meet deadlines. I see that my approach to each of these production types develops in tandem towards a more consolidated general aesthetic, which will probably (and hopefully) continue to shift.
I have been a professional freelance composer in these areas for 9 years.
I live in Tempe, Arizona.
Christopher Norby is a composer from Derry, Northern Ireland. He has been working on a professional freelance basis since 2007 as a composer of concert music, theatre music and videogame music. In 2011 he completed a PhD in composition through the University of Ulster. In terms of classical concert music and theatre collaboration he has been commissioned by some of the UK and Ireland’s leading organisations and performing groups, including BBC Radio 3 (Ulster Orchestra), Vanbrugh Quartet, Brodsky Quartet, Concorde, NI Opera, Echo Echo Dance Theatre and the Verbal Arts Centre. His music has been performed across Ireland and the UK, Slovenia, Japan and the USA. He has produced original scores for numerous apps and games on iOS and android. He was a founding member of AnNua Productions – a collaborative theatre company in Ireland which continues to produce new theatrical productions.
Recently his work was performed throughout Ireland by the Vanbrugh Quartet as part of their Irish Tour, in London by the Brodsky Quartet as part of the City of London Festival and in the USA by the AZ Pro Arte orchestra, conducted by Timothy Verville and Keitaro Harada. He was composer in residence with the AZ Pro Arte Ensemble and throughout their 2013/14 concert series at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona. In 2015 he created and directed ‘Place’, an innovative mixed media show combing live music, visual art, acting, film and theatre at the Tempe Center for the Arts, Arizona.
He continues to produce theatrical works, concert music, videogame and film scores as a freelance professional, as well as adjunct teaching work at Arizona State University.