Tin in 2016
|Birth name||Christopher Chiyan Tin|
|Born||May 21, 1976|
Redwood City, California, U.S.
Christopher Chiyan Tin (born May 21, 1976) is an American composer of concert music, film, and video game scores. His 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.
Early life and education
Christopher Tin was raised in Palo Alto, California 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. 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.
Early career (2000–2005)
While a student at the Royal College of Music, he completed his first commission, the string quartet 'Lacrymosa' for the US Embassy in London. He also found his first professional employment as a staff arranger for Silva Screen Records; his job was to transcribe orchestral film scores (by John Williams, James Horner, John Barry and others) 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. He also worked for record producer Michael Brook, who took him to India on tour as a keyboardist.
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).
Baba Yetu (2005)
Tin's biggest break came in 2005, when video game designer Soren Johnson, his former roommate at Stanford, asked him to compose the theme song for Civilization IV. Tin responded with "Baba Yetu", a choral, Swahili version of the Lord's Prayer recorded by his former a cappella group Stanford Talisman. The song garnered a huge critical response, with over 20 reviewers of the game singling out the theme on IGN, GameSpy, and others. The first live performance of the song took place on September 21, 2006 at the Hollywood Bowl, as part of a Video Games Live concert, featuring Stanford Talisman and conducted by Jack Wall.
Baba Yetu has achieved enormous popularity outside of the video game industry, and been performed at various venues and events around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, The Dubai Fountain, and the New Year's Concert of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly. Notable ensembles that have performed the song include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, US Navy Band, and various YouTube artists, including Peter Hollens, Alex Boye and the BYU Men's Chorus. It is also a popular competition piece: in 2014 the Welsh choir Côr CF1 won BBC Radio 3's Choir of the Year with their performance, and in 2018 the Angel City Chorale was awarded the Golden Buzzer by Olivia Munn for their rendition on season 13 of America's Got Talent.
It is also one of the most decorated pieces of video game music, holding the distinction of being the first piece of music written for a video game to be both nominated for, and win, a Grammy Award (at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in the "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)" category). Additionally it won Tin two awards at the GANG (Game Audio Network Guild) Awards in 2006, as well as two awards in the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards ("Best Song Used in Film/TV/Multimedia" and "Best World Beat Song"). It also entered Tin into the Guinness Book of World Records as the composer of the first video game theme to win a Grammy Award.
Calling All Dawns (2009–2014)
In 2009, Tin released his classical crossover album Calling All Dawns. The album is a song-cycle in three uninterrupted movements: Day, Night, and Dawn (corresponding to life, death, and rebirth). The twelve songs are sung in twelve languages, including Swahili, Polish, French, Persian, and Maori. The lyrics are taken from diverse sources, including the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, Persian and Japanese poetry, and lyrics by contemporary writers. Appropriate vocal traditions are used in the performance of each song, and include African gospel, Beijing opera, medieval chants, and Irish keening.
The album won two Grammys in the 53rd Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the song "Baba Yetu", and was nominated for the 'Contemporary Classical Album' category at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards. It features performances by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Lucas Richman), Soweto Gospel Choir, Lia, Aoi Tada, Kaori Omura (大村香織), Jia Ruhan, Dulce Pontes, Anonymous 4, Frederica von Stade, Sussan Deyhim, Stanford Talisman, and On Ensemble.
Despite the fact that Tin had never intended the work to be performed live, many ensembles have performed it. The first concert was given by Derek Machan and the Waterford Union High School chorus in Waterford, WI. Subsequently, on April 7, 2013, New York-based concert promoters Distinguished Concerts International New York did the first of multiple large-scale productions at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, conducted by Jonathan Griffith and featuring original album artists Anonymous 4, Ron Ragin, Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Roopa Mahadevan. On July 19, 2016 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed excerpts with the combined Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble and Lucis choirs at Cadogan Hall in London. And on July 5, 2017 at the 70th Anniversary of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Tin himself conducted the entire work with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra and a group of international soloists, including Elin Manahan Thomas, Nathalie Pires, Joel Virgel, and Nominjin, and a mass choir made up of singers from Wales, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States. The concert was filmed and subsequently broadcast on Welsh television station S4C.
The Drop That Contained the Sea (2014–2016)
Christopher Tin's second album, titled The Drop That Contained the Sea, premiered live at Carnegie Hall on April 13, 2014. It was performed by a combined chorus of multiple singing groups from around the United States, Canada, and England, as part of an all-Tin concert produced by Distinguished Concerts International New York. It consists of ten songs, each sung in a different language, beginning with Proto-Indo-European and including Bulgarian, Turkish, Mongolian, Xhosa, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit. The song cycle follows the water cycle much like Calling All Dawns followed the day and night cycle.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with Tin conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and features guest performances by the Soweto Gospel Choir, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Kardeş Türküler, Dulce Pontes, Nominjin, Roopa Mahadevan, Anonymous 4, the Angel City Chorale, and Norwegian chamber choir Schola Cantorum. Upon release, it achieved #1 status on the Billboard Classical Charts.
Tin centered his first tour around the work, conducting it in three cities in the UK. The European premiere was given on July 16, 2016 at the Barbican in York, with the Mowbray Orchestra and combined Angel City Chorale and Prima Vocal Ensemble choirs, followed by concerts at the Harrogate Music Festival, and in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sogno di Volare (2016)
Christopher Tin returned to the Civilization franchise to compose the main theme for Civilization VI, a choral anthem called "Sogno di Volare" (The Dream of Flight) that used a modernized version of Leonardo da Vinci's writings on flight as its lyrics. Tin explained in a statement that he hoped the piece would capture the "essence of exploration; both the physical exploration of seeking new lands, but also the mental exploration of expanding the frontiers of science and philosophy." The piece was given its world premiere in concert on June 19, 2016 at London's Cadogan Hall, conducted by the composer himself, and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Angel City Chorale, Lucis and Prima Vocal Ensemble combined choirs.
In 2009, Christopher Tin and multi-instrumentalist and producer Shoji Kameda formed a Los Angeles-based production duo, Stereo Alchemy. Their debut album God of Love, was released on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012. It featured a variety of Renaissance and Romantic era poems (from Thomas Carew, Christina Rossetti, John Donne and others) reinvented as lyrics for trip hop and synth pop songs.
Tin collaborated with Lang Lang on the 2016 release of a piano and orchestra suite of music from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Additionally, Tin has collaborated with Danny Elfman and Alan Menken.
Tin has received commissions by Stratus Chamber Orchestra, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra at St. Matthew's and ISCMS Festival. He also co-created the startup sound for the original Microsoft Surface computing platform.
He arranged a number of jazz tunes for 2018 film 'Crazy Rich Asians', one being based on the Chinese melody, 'He Ri Jun Zai Lai'. This arrangement was chosen by director Jon M. Chu and Warner Brothers to open the film.
Tin's other film credits include writing additional music for Sausage Party (2016), Suddenly Seventeen (2016), Tess (2016), Dante's Inferno (2010), Deadspace: Aftermath (2011), Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil (2011) and X2: X-Men United (2003).
|2011||Best Classical Crossover Album||Calling All Dawns||Won|||
|Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists||Baba Yetu||Won|||
Video game industry awards
|2017||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal Song – Choral||Sogno di Volare||Nominated|||
|Game Audio Network Guild||Music of the Year||Civilization VI||Nominated|
|Movie Music UK Award||Best Video Game Score||Civilization VI||Won|||
|NAVGTR Award||Best Song, Original or Adapted||Sogno di Volare||Nominated|||
|2016||Guinness Book of World Records||First Video Game Theme to Win a Grammy||Baba Yetu||Won|||
|2015||VGMO Award||Album of the Year||The Drop That Contained the Sea||Won|||
|2007||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Arrangement of a Non-Original Score||Pirates of the Caribbean Online||Nominated|||
|2006||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal Song – Choral||Baba Yetu||Won|||
|Game Audio Network Guild||Rookie of the Year||Christopher Tin||Won|
|GameSpy||Best Music||Civilization IV||Honorable Mention|||
|2015||John Lennon Songwriting Contest||World||Iza Ngomso||Won|||
|John Lennon Songwriting Contest||Lennon Award – World||Iza Ngomso||Won|||
|International Songwriting Contest||World Music Category||Iza Ngomso||1st Place|||
|Independent Music Award||Vox Pop Contemporary Classical Album||Iza Ngomso||Won|||
|Independent Music Award||Best Contemporary Classical Album||The Drop That Contained the Sea||Nominated|||
|Independent Music Award||Best World Beat Song||Waloyo Yamoni||Nominated|
|2014||USA Songwriting Competition||Best World Music Song||Iza Ngomso||Won|||
|2011||Independent Music Award||Best World Beat Song||Baba Yetu||Won|||
|Independent Music Award||Best Song Used in Film/TV/Multimedia||Baba Yetu||Won|
|Independent Music Award||Best Contemporary Classical Album||Calling All Dawns||Nominated|
|2010||International Songwriting Competition||Best World Music Song||Baba Yetu||1st Place|||
|John Lennon Songwriting Contest||Best World Music Song||Baba Yetu||Finalist|||
|USA Songwriting Competition||Best World Music Song||Baba Yetu||Nominated|||
- (2009) Calling All Dawns
- (2014) The Drop That Contained the Sea
- (30/May/2020, World premiere) To Shiver the Sky
Choral works with orchestra
- (2005) Baba Yetu
- (2009) Kia Hora Te Marino
- (2009) Mado Kara Mieru
- (2013) Temen Oblak
- (2013) Iza Ngomso
- (2016) Sogno di Volare
- (2017) Silver Wing
- (2017) Adain Can
Vocal solo with orchestra
- (2013) Passou o Verao
Orchestra with soloist(s)
- (2014) Shinobu vs. Ghost Warrior
- (1999) Lacrymosa (string quartet)
- (2009) Nocturne No. 2
- (2012) Karateka
- (2016) Offworld Trading Company
- Sofia Rocher (April 18, 2016). "Composer of first videogame theme to win a Grammy honored at New York City concert". Guinness World Records. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
- Antony Bruno (April 12, 2011). "New Grammy Rules (Finally) Acknowledge Videogame Music". Billboard. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Timothy Monger. "AllMusic Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- Jesse Oxfeld (May 2004). "Getting in Synch". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Be'eri Moalem (December 18, 2009). "A Compositional Nomad". Palo Alto Weekly. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin". Kraft-Engel Management. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Garrett Hope (November 9, 2016). "Ep 101 – Christopher Tin on Networking & Creating Opportunities". The Portfolio Composer. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin". IMDb. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "The 'shakti' of sound". The Hindu. Mar 27, 2003. Archived from the original on August 21, 2003. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "BMI and Sundance Announce 2003 Composers Lab Fellows". Broadcast Music, Inc. August 4, 2003. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- Howard Ho (March 22, 2011). "What Do You Do After You Win a Grammy?: An Interview with Christopher Tin". Asia Pacific Arts. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Puma Shoes Give Animals Advantage". Inspiration Room. December 28, 2005. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Looking Back... Civilization IV". CVG. July 6, 2006. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Talisman featured on Civilization 4". Stanford Talisman. March 11, 2005. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- Tin, Christopher. "Press". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Baba Yetu (Alfred Accompaniment)". Faber Music. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents The Drop of Dawn in Review". NY Concert Review. April 16, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents Calling All Dawns in Review". NY Concert Review. April 7, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "It's All in the Playing at NSO's 'Video Games Live'". Washington Post. July 2, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- Viva Vox Choir (Belgrade) – New Year's Concert of the 67th Session of the General Assembly. UN Web TV. January 14, 2013. Event occurs at 25:29. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- "The Music of Christopher Tin at Cadogan Hall". Cadogan Hall. July 19, 2016. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- ""Baba Yetu" – Sid Meier's Civilization IV (Games in Concert 3)". Blog post. May 29, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Calling All Nations Concert, Llangollen Eisteddfod – review". Shropshire Star. July 10, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "US Navy Band Performs 'Baba Yetu' in Swahili and it's Astonishing". Nairobi News. January 20, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Malukah and Peter Hollens Release Gorgeous Civilization IV Cover Song". The Escapist. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Men's Chorus and Alex Boyé find their perfect fit with 'Baba Yetu'". BYU College of Fine Arts and Communication. March 24, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Choir of the Year 2014: Cardiff's CF1 wins title". December 9, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Staff, NBC4 (2018-07-25). "Angel City Chorale earns Olivia Munn's golden buzzer on America's Got Talent". WCMH. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- Langshaw, Mark (December 5, 2010). "'Civ IV' theme nominated for Grammy". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- Senior, Tom (February 14, 2011). "Civilization 4 wins grammy for Baba Yetu six years after release". PC Gamer. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "5th Annual GANG Awards". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin". The Independent Music Awards. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Christopher Tin: Calling All Dawns". AllMusic. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Grammy.com Winners Search, Classical, 2010". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Grammy.com Winners Search, Arranging, 2010". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Independent Music Awards, Past Winners". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin: Calling All Dawns (Chamber Orchestra)". Faber. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Grammy award winner brings the world together at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod". Daily Post. July 8, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents The Drop of Dawn in Review". NY Concert Review. April 16, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- "A classical music album about climate challenges is a surprise atop the charts". PRI's The World. July 9, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- "Review: The Music of Christopher Tin, Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble and The Mowbray Orchestra, York Barbican, July 16". York Press. July 18, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- "Civilization 6 Theme Song Written by Grammy-Winner: Composer Christopher Tin's new song is called "Sogno di Volare."". Gamespot. July 11, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Stereo Alchemy: 'God of Love' Review". Higher Plain Music. February 7, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "BT's Electronic Opus (CD Review)". Original Sound Version. November 7, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "TyDi Joins Grammy Award Winning Composer for New Single "Closing In"". EDM.com. October 10, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin - Lang Lang". christophertin.com. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- MPadmin. "Christopher Tin". Music Productions. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- "Christopher Tin - About". www.christophertin.com. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- "Christopher Tin - Crazy Rich Asians". christophertin.com. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- "Christopher Tin". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- "Grammy winner impressed by standards in Cor Cymru". Daily Mail. March 18, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Christopher Tin". El Sistema-France (in French). Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- "2017 GANG Awards". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Movie Music UK Awards 2016". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "NAVGTR Awards 2017". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "VGMO Annual Game Music Awards, 2014". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "6th Annual GANG Awards". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- Tin, Christopher. "Credits". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "John Lennon Songwriting Contest Winners, 2014 Session II". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "John Lennon Songwriting Contest Lennon Award Winners, 2014". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "International Songwriting Competition, Winners". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Independent Music Awards Vox Pop Winners Announced, 2014". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "John Lennon Songwriting Contest Finalists, 2010 Session II". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "USA Songwriting Competition's Christopher Tin wins 2 GRAMMY Awards". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- "Faber Music: Christopher Tin". Faber. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- "Sheet Music". christophertin.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.