Christopher J. Wills is a composer and pianist based in sunny Southern California. He performed and recorded for film and television productions including Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man 2 (the finest of Sam Raimi’s three Spidey movies, dare one say), toured in concert with singer and actress Lorna Luft (daughter of Judy Garland) and Jim Curry (the nation’s leading John Denver artist) with the Pacific Symphony under Richard Kaufman, Houston Symphony under Michael Krajewski, Cincinnati Pops under Stephen Reineke and dozens of other orchestras at major venues such as Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Wills frequently performs for colorful Broadway musicals and revues at venues such as the Carpenter Center and Candlelight Pavilion. He recorded in sessions with the lovely Dale Kristien from LA’s Phantom of the Opera and Jordan Bennett from Les Misérables.
Mr. Wills recently performed in concert for AXS TV and PBS Soundstage broadcasts: the star-studded Colorado Music Hall of Fame (entitled “The Rocky Mountain Way”) featuring Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, John Oates, Joe Walsh, the Lumineers, and Grammy-winning Gold-record artist and modern cowboy Michael Martin Murphey—a sold-out event at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater that attracted 20,000 concertgoers. No pressure whatsoever. Other artists with whom Wills has been fortunate to perform include author Joni Eareckson-Tada, Elvis Presley’s guitarist James Burton, gospel singers Buddy Greene and Lillie Knauls, the twin sons of Ricky Nelson, Ingrid Chun (violinist from Los Angeles Philharmonic), jazz saxophonist Justo Almario, oboist Tom Boyd, singer Marsha Skidmore and drummer David Owens (Franklin Graham Crusades), percussionists Richie and son Roland Gajate Garcia, crooner Frank DiSalvo at Agua Caliente, and American Idol’s bubbly redhead Carrie Jo Hubrich. Wills also performed for a Progeria research event with Hollywood actors Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen, and father of Sam Berns (featured in an HBO documentary).
Mr. Wills recently composed animation film trailer music for Colossal’s Hollywoodland. He served as composer-in-residence with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic at SUNY. He won Hollywood and national composition awards including the Kenneth Davenport National Competition for Orchestral Works which featured world premiere performances at the Bardavon Opera House under conductor Randall Craig Fleischer, broadcasted for radio programs and reviewed in various newspapers. He also twice won the ASMAC Irwin Kostal Memorial Award for Composition, presented by legendary film composer John Williams at the Beverly Hilton. Wills composed an original work entitled A Centennial Tribute to celebrate the 1908 founding of Biola University. He has also worked with Invisible Children’s Jason Russell (KONY 2012 viral video), scoring, conducting and recording his USC masters thesis film entitled Fly at the Steven Spielberg Scoring Stage (currently named after John Williams) and screened at the Norris Cinema Theatre. He has also written radio theme music for HCJB World Radio hosted by Eric Skattebo. He is currently composing a work for brass quintet to feature bass trombonist Ilan Morgenstern.
Currently, Mr. Wills is laboring away writing arrangements and orchestrations for a recording project with Persian pop star Hafez Nazeri and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Wills has been commissioned by orchestras including the Boston Pops, Philly Pops, Seattle, Houston and Dallas Symphonies, and the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus to arrange for programs such as Epic Hollywood Soundtracks at Verizon Hall and Pop Legends in Symphony at Meyerson Center, A Very Merry Pops holiday shows featuring Broadway stars Ashley Brown and Montego Glover, The Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel concerts which are currently touring around the country, featured on public radio and reviewed in local papers, and Tapestry: the Carole King Songbook conducted by maestro Michael Krajewski, featuring Tony-nominated Liz Callaway (the voice of Disney’s “Anastasia”) with the Boston Pops. Wills recently arranged and orchestrated 17 charts for the concert series Space Oddity: Tribute to David Bowie presented by David Brighton (a regular on AXS TV), recently performed by the Toledo Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic and Bangor Symphony orchestras. Wills also contributed to the album and film project Great Voices Sing John Denver with Placido Domingo.
Mr. Wills was contracted as an arranger for Lillenas Publishing for which He Sends the Snow was selected as “Editor’s Choice” at J.W. Pepper, sold in bookstores around the country such as Lifeway, and recorded in Nashville. Wills arranged the Americana Suite for the Glendale Symphony at Alex Theatre, and Capistrano Symphony at Mission San Juan Capistrano, working with guitarist Del Casher (“papa of the wah-wah pedal”). Wills is also currently arranging for an album project with oboist Tom Boyd to be recorded at Capitol Records, and an orchestral video game music series entitled Game On! featuring cellist sensation Tina Guo (who toured with Hans Zimmer and served as the musical voice of “Wonder Woman”). He recently worked with composer Lee Holdridge to orchestrate Neil Diamond material for a concert with Orchestra Kentucky featuring Jack Wright, conducted by Jeffrey Reed. Wills also wrote a number of USC masters thesis and short film scores recorded at the Spielberg Scoring Stage (now entitled after John Williams).
Last but not least, Mr. Wills teaches as Professor of Music at Azusa Pacific, Biola and Vanguard Universities, diligently laboring over his students and seeking to pass on his love for music to the next generation. He has authored five textbooks on musical academic subjects and developed two online ear training courses.