Christopher Gunning

About Christopher Gunning

Composer Christopher Gunning wrote film and television scores that were widely honored and frequently heard. He also composed a large body of concert music, including a collection of symphonies. Gunning was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U.K., on August 5, 1944. Aiming toward a career as a composer of concert music, he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. His teachers there were Edmund Rubbra and Richard Rodney Bennett, both composers of broad popular appeal. In the '70s, Gunning collaborated with rock musician Colin Blunstone, writing string arrangements for Blunstone's hit "Say You Don't Mind" (1972). Gunning's film and television career began at about the same time: he wrote scores for Goodbye Gemini (1970), Hands of the Ripper (1971), and Ooh... You Are Awful (1972). He was highly visible as the composer of most of the music for the Poirot films on British television, based on Agatha Christie's fictional detective; Gunning's signature theme for it became especially familiar. He had a consistent film career from the '70s through the 2010s, with In Celebration (1975), The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin (1981), and Grace of Monaco (2014) among his credits. He won eight BAFTA awards, including Best Film Music for his score to the 2007 film La Vie en Rose. Gunning maintained a parallel career as a composer of concert music, including concertos for saxophone (one of his most acclaimed works), oboe, and clarinet. He wrote 12 symphonies, two of which, the Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4, were issued on the Chandos label, performed, along with Gunning's oboe concerto, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Chandos also issued the album The Film and TV Music of Christopher Gunning with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba. Most recordings of Gunning's music have been on the Discovery Music & Vision and Albany labels. Gunning had four daughters, one of whom, Chloe, is the creator of the British travel blog Wanderlustchloe. Christopher Gunning died in Hertfordshire, England on March 24, 2023. He was 78. ~ James Manheim

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
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