Christopher Fox is on Twitter @fantasticdrfox and Facebook. Christopher Fox was born on 10 March 1955 in York, the eldest child of Raymond Fox (1925–90), a lawyer who was also born in York, and Barbara Fox (b. 1925), who grew up in Pomerania (then in Germany, now in Poland). When he was nearly two his parents moved to the nearby village of Copmanthorpe; he went to junior school in the village and then to Tadcaster Grammar School. In 1973 he went to the University of Liverpool to read music, attracted both by the prospect of studying with Hugh Wood, the university’s composer in residence, and of being in the same city as Liverpool Football Club. From Liverpool he went to Southampton, studying with Jonathan Harvey for a year, before returning to York to complete a PhD in composition, supervised by Richard Orton.
In 1978, during rehearsals for the inaugural York Early Music Festival, Fox met a fellow tenor, Roger Heaton, rather better known as a clarinettist. They began a close collaboration and it was at Heaton’s suggestion that Fox went to the Darmstadt Ferienkurse for the first time in 1982. The succès de scandale of Fox’s DaNCE (1980), performed at Heaton’s instigation during the Ferienkurse, led to many further opportunities in Germany (including a DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm residency in 1987) and elsewhere in continental Europe. Similar close working relationships have continued to be a feature of Fox’s life as a composer, with collaborators such as the pianist Ian Pace, the soprano Elizabeth Hilliard, the clarinettist Heather Roche and the ensembles Apartment House, EXAUDI, The Clerks and the Ives Ensemble.
As well as composing, Fox has earned a living as a lecturer, teaching art and media history in the Art School of Bradford College for 10 years, before joining the music departments of the University of Huddersfield and, more recently, Brunel University London. He also writes about music, producing newspaper features, radio scripts, musicological journal articles and book chapters, and editing books on Michael Finnissy and the history of the Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Recordings of his works are to be found on many different labels and publication of his music is by Composers Edition and his own imprint, the Fox Edition.