Christopher Bowers-Broadbent

Christopher Bowers-Broadbent


• Born 1945


Christopher Bowers-Broadbent is one of Europe's leading organists in the field of avant-garde music.

As a boy he took part in the competitive auditions to become a chorister at King's College, Cambridge. In return for performing daily, at services in the College Chapel, during the course of which they learn a wide variety of choral repertoire, the choristers also received a thorough musical and general education at King's College School. Bowers-Broadbent studied organ, and when he graduated went on to the Royal Academy of Music in London.

During his studies he became committed to contemporary music. He is particularly close to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. This attraction began when a BBC early music producer introduced him to Pärt's music. Bowers-Broadbent was particularly impressed by the music's "power over time and space" as well as the humanity that is evident in the music.

As a result of his commitment to contemporary music, Bowers-Broadbent has commissioned new works by composers such as Pärt, Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, Henryk Górecki, Stephen Montague, Robert Simpson, and Priaulx Rainer. Bowers-Broadbent records on the Harmonia Mundi and ECM Records labels, on which he has released some of this repertoire, other works by Pärt, and music of Satie, Milhaud, Messiaen, Handel, and Maxwell Davies.

Since 1976 Bowers-Broadbent has been professor of organ at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 1996 he suggested that Pärt revise his Berliner Mass, written just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and celebrating the new freedom gained by Eastern Europeans. ECM released the revised version, with Bowers-Broadbent, Paul Hillier, and the Theatre of Voices, in March 2000.