I remember when we were rehearsing for the King’s College London Symphonic Orchestra’s second concert, in that cold and large room on the Strand campus. It was in early February, we were all tired and sniffling from the cold, but rehearsing Finladia by Sibelius made our hearts warm and fingers move on our instruments. Chris would always put a smile on our faces with his funny metaphors and grand gestures when conducting and explaining exactly what he wanted from us. On that particular evening, I remember him stopping us in the middle of the piece: he wasn’t hearing what he wanted and knew he could do more. He said that he wanted us to play Finlandia whilst imagining that we were gloriously flying over the snowy forests of Finland, and made swooping gestures with his arms. Something about that sentence struck me and stuck with me, I’m not sure why. It made so much sense, and the piece took a completely different colour in my eyes. 

Even though the time I knew for him was too short, I am so grateful to have had him as a conductor. He opened my eyes on the creativeness of interpretations of music, and all its subtleties. Playing with you was a pleasure and an honour Chris. Your boundless energy, dedication and patience were incomparable.

Rest in peace. 

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