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At the age of nine he joined the choir of the St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and began to compose at the age of fourteen. Two years later he went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, before going up to the New College of the Oxford University where he studied with David Lumsden, Kenneth Leighton and Robert Sherlaw Johnson. He also complemented his studies with private lessons with Richard Rodney Bennett. He holds the degrees of B.A.(Hons.), B.Mus, M.A. e D.Mus, all from the University of Oxford. In 2004 he was awarded a Medal of Cultural Merit by the Ministry of Culture, Portugal; in 2005 he was decorated by Queen Elizabeth II with the O.B.E.

Christopher Bochmann has divided his activities between composition, teaching and conducting (at present he is chief conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica Juvenil), and he has worked in the United Kingdom, in Brazil, and, since 1980, in Portugal.

The composer has been part of Portuguese musical life for more than 35 years. He has developed an activity as teacher that has influenced several generations of Portuguese composers. His prolific oeuvre includes a broad list of works encompassing almost all musical genres, from solo to orchestral music, from chamber works to opera... Although all of his works are marked by the rigour of his musical thought and his compositional technique, they have a profound emotional impact. His music style has passed through a phase of considerable complexity related to post-serial modernism. At that time, he worked intensely with aleatoric and open forms, as well as with controlled improvisation. However, more recently, his music has incorporated more simplicity thus following certain postmodern tendencies, yet without resorting to neotonality.

“I am a musician who feels no embarrassment in being moved, even to the extent of tears”, said Christopher Bochmann on November 4, 2010, in the radio programme Na Outra Margem by Manuela Paraíso, realized on the occasion of the composer’s 60th anniversary. “Emotive flexibility in music results from the coexistence of intuition and technical rigour. It is the rigour that enables us to reach a richer intuitive expression”.

At present, Christopher Bochmann is Dean of the School of the Arts of the University of Évora.

Dossier no. 6 . Portuguese Composers of the 20th and 21st Centuries . Christopher Bochmann

Christopher Bochmann . official website