Christopher Tin is a composer from California best known for his video game scores and his Grammy-winning classical crossover album Calling All Dawns. Born and raised in Palo Alto by Chinese immigrant parents, Tin attended Stanford University where he studied music composition. After graduating in 1998, he traveled to Oxford, England as an exchange student where he won a coveted Fulbright Scholarship to study at London's Royal College of Music. While in London, he earned his Master of Music degree, winning the prestigious Horowitz competition and graduated with the highest grades in his class. Returning to the States, he relocated to Los Angeles and began working in the film and television industry, interning with veteran composers Hans Zimmer and Joel McNeely before being approached to compose some of his own music for the X-Men 2 soundtrack in 2003. He worked with Nova, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel composing for some of their shows, and composed the on board demo song for Apple's GarageBand software. In 2005, his former college roommate at Stanford, Soren Johnson, asked Tin to compose the theme song for his new video game Civilization IV. The resulting song, "Baba Yetu," a choral rendering of the Lord's Prayer sung in Swahili, became a huge critical success in and outside of the gaming world. While continuing to work in a variety of fields (games, TV, advertising, film), Tin set about composing his first major independent piece, incorporating "Baba Yetu" into a unique song cycle based around three uninterrupted movements: Day, Night, and Dawn. Boasting 12 songs sung in 12 different languages and recorded at Abbey Road with heavy-hitting collaborators like the Soweto Gospel Choir and early music stars Anonymous 4, and backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Calling All Dawns was a truly ambitious project that mixed classical elements with various facets of world music and featured over 200 musicians. Released in 2009, Calling All Dawns went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album and "Baba Yetu" won a second Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), becoming the first piece of music composed for a video game ever to win a Grammy. Still enjoying the success from his breakthrough, Tin set about composing his second album, another song cycle called The Drop That Contained the Sea which premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2014.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
© Timothy Monger /TiVo