MA, BMus (London), LRAM
Chris has been part of the Theology, Music and Worship department at London School of Theology since 1997. He has developed and teaches two undergraduate modules entitled ‘Integrating Theology and the Arts’ and ‘Understanding Music,’ which explore the territory between Christian theology, philosophy and the arts – an interdisciplinary field known as Theological Aesthetics. Crossing ecclesiastical boundaries, students encounter diverse historical and modern sources, engaging with the theory, practice and especially theology of artistic creation. He also supervises M-level postgraduate students in this field. Chris is module leader for the performance components of the Theology, Music and Worship programme and heads up the end-of-year recitals – something he very much looks forward to.
Chris is currently completing his PhD, and holds an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), scholarship at the Open University, UK. His doctoral thesis revolves around the French philosopher Jacques Maritain – the most important Catholic intellectual of the mid-twentieth century – and explores the idea of musical beauty from a scholastic (Thomist) theological and philosophical perspective. From Maritain’s aesthetic works he is reconstructing a philosophy of music that is historically sensitive, theologically orthodox, and which redresses enlightenment definitions of beauty and subjectivity.
Having studied music since childhood, Chris trained originally at the Royal Academy of Music, specialising in harmony and composition, with principal study on the violin/viola and second study piano. Later, he was awarded a distinction for an MA in Music Education by University College London, Institute of Education. Chris was involved in secondary music education for well over 20 years, teaching A level academic music, directing chamber orchestras and other ensembles, and teaching the piano and violin.
Outside London School of Theology, Chris gives talks on theology, music, poetry and painting – theological aesthetics for the layperson! He has an abiding love of jazz music and he is the regular pianist for the London Jazz Vespers Project, based at Westminster Central Hall. He still teaches the violin and the piano. He is married to Liz, a nurse – they have 6 children aged from 6 to 23, and a Whippet called Albert!
- ‘Thomist Foundations for a Theological Aesthetic of Musical Beauty.’ American Maritain Association 42nd Annual Conference, 2019, DeSales University.
- ‘Understanding Tragedy Truthfully: J.S. Bach’s Zerfliesse Mein Hertze.’ Plenary presentation at American Maritain Association 42nd Annual Conference, 2019, DeSales University.
- ‘The Music Aesthetic Inside Maritain’s Notion of Poetic Knowledge.’ American Maritain Association 40th Annual Conference, 2017, Notre Dame University.
- “Can’t Sing, Won’t Sing: The Melodic, Harmonic and Rhythmic Decline of Vocal Memory in Congregational Singing.’ The 3rd Biennial Christian Congregational Music Conference, 2015, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford.
- The Dynamics of Knowing: Process in the Experience of Composer, Performer and Listener. The Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference 2010, Manchester University.