Chris Thornborrow is a Toronto based composer of chamber music, opera, and film scores. His music has been described as, “complex and clear, with subtle playfulness,” and he has received a number of awards for his work. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for Walking, a piece based on the life and creativity of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. In the same year he received two multiple Socan Awards for Young Audio-Visual Composers as well as the 2013 Toronto Emerging Composers Award Honourable Mention.
Along with Monica Pearce, Chris is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director the Toy Piano Composers. Since 2008, the collective has premiered over one hundred new works including chamber pieces, orchestral music, art song, and opera by emerging composers from across Canada. They are currently starting their sixth season, and have received support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the SOCAN Foundation.
Chris has been commissioned by a number of ensembles including The Thin Edge New Music Collective, junctQín keyboard collective, Musica Reflecta, and the Array Ensemble. In 2012, the Bicycle Opera Project toured his acclaimed children’s opera Hannah and Paige and the Zombie Pirates, across Ontario. Ensemble Paramirabo performed his quintet, This Changing View, in five cities during their cross-Canada tour. His innovative Mini Piano Concerto for Young Musician was premiered by Musica Reflecta and was lauded for “inspiring children to make a lifelong connection to the pleasures of making music.” Other performers of his work include TorQ Percussion, Rob MacDonald Guitar Quartet, Digital Prowess, and vocalists Maureen Batt and Marta Herman.
Chris was selected to participate in Tapestry New Opera’s 2013 LibLab where he created four short operas with librettists Nicolas Billon, Morris Panych, Julie Tepperman, and David Yee. In 2012, his piece Ricochet was read as part of Esprit Orchestra’s reading workshop at the University of Toronto. He composed Overcome while participating in the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, which won the 2011 Orchestra Composition Competition at the University of Toronto. In that same year, Chris was a composer in residence at the Atlantic Music Festival, and he has had works read by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet, The Ives Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Ensemble, and The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
The films he’s scored have screened internationally, including two appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Milano Film Festival, and the prestigious Claremont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, as well as airings on BravoFact! And CBC Television. He was the founder of the music program at International Summer Camp Montana in Switzerland, and is currently completeing his DMA, studying with Gary Kulesha at the University of Toronto.