Christopher Tin

From Wind Repertory Project
Christopher Tin


Christopher Chiyan Tin (b. 21 May 1976, Redwood City, Calif.) is an American composer of concert music, film, and video game scores.

Christopher Tin was raised by immigrant parents from Hong Kong. He worked on his undergraduate education at Stanford University with a brief period as an exchange student at Oxford, double majoring in music composition and english literature, and minoring in art history. During this period he supplemented his classical studies by participating in various jazz, musical theatre, and world music student groups. He graduated in 1998, receiving a BA with Honors, and continued to study at Stanford, receiving an MA in interdisciplinary studies in humanities (with an emphasis in film studies) in 1999.

In 1999 he was admitted to the Royal College of Music in London for their MMus in composition for screen program, and simultaneously received a Fulbright Scholarship, the first to be awarded for film scoring.[4] There he studied composition with Joseph Horovitz and orchestration with Julian Anderson, as well as conducting with Neil Thomson. He graduated with Distinction, also winning the Joseph Horovitz composition prize as the student with the highest overall marks in his course.

While a student at the Royal College of Music, he completed his first commission, the string quartet Lacrymosa for the U.S. Embassy in London. He also found his first professional employment as a staff arranger for Silva Screen Records, transcribing orchestral film scores by ear so that they could be re-recorded by live orchestra for album release. He moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and continued to arrange scores for Silva Screen Records to pay his way while searching for more permanent employment. His first internship was with Hans Zimmer. Subsequently, he found freelance work with composers Joel McNeely, who hired him to make synthesized mockups of his film scores for a series of Disney films; and John Ottman, who gave him some incidental music to write on X2: X-Men United. In 2003 he participated in the Sundance Institute Film Music Lab where he met jazz pianist Billy Childs, who referred him for his first composing job: scoring a documentary for NY Times Television.] This led to a period of modest success writing music for New York-based documentary filmmakers (notably Oscar-nominee Deborah Dickson) and advertising clients (notably Puma).

Tin's work is primarily orchestral and choral, often with a world music influence. He has won two Grammy Awards for his classical crossover album Calling All Dawns.

Tin is best known for his choral piece Baba Yetu from the video game Civilization IV, which became the first piece of video game music ever to win a Grammy Award in 2011. His Grammy win was considered a significant milestone for the critical acceptance of music from video games as a legitimate art form, and following his win the Recording Academy retitled their visual media categories to become more inclusive of video game soundtracks.

Works for Winds

Adaptable Music

  • Baba Yetu (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Vinson) (2005/2019)
  • Sogno di Volare (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Brown) (2016/2019)

All Wind Works