Christopher Painter was born at Port Talbot, South Wales in 1962 and studied music at University College, Cardiff. His composition studies were initially with Timothy Taylor and Richard Elfyn Jones and in 1984 he began to study with Alun Hoddinott.
He studied full-time with Hoddinott until 1989 and complemented these studies with consultations and masterclasses with Samuel Adler (Eastman School of Music, New York); George Benjamin; John McCabe; Edward Gregson; Robert Saxton, Robert Simpson and Marek Stachowski (Warsaw University).
In addition to his composition studies, Christopher also studied conducting with Edward Gregson; Stanley Saunders (University of Guelph, Canada); Rod Walker (University of Texas, USA); and latterly, with Christopher Adey.
After completing his formal studies, Christopher worked for both the BBC and the Welsh National Opera before deciding to leave to further his freelance career.
He was the founding conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra and the first musical director of the Swansea Opera Workshop.
Christopher Painter was the first recipient of the Afan Thomas Composer's Award and has also won the National Eisteddfod Composition Prize (Newport 1988) and was featured in the Welsh Arts Council's Young Welsh Composer Forum in 1987. In 1997, Christopher Painter was the first Welsh winner of the Gregynog Composer Award of Wales which was given for his Sonata for Harp which was premiered on June 28th at the 1997 Gregynog Festival.
Appointed as Composer-in-Association with North Wales based Ensemble Cymru in October 1997, Christopher wrote a number of works for this ensemble, including the children's dance work, Yggdrasil, a Millennium Commission/Techniquest commission as part of the "Sounds for Science" education project.
Christopher's tenure with Ensemble Cymru came to an end in 2000 but he has maintained a keen interest in their activities and continues to write for them on a regular basis.
In 1999 Christopher Painter was Composer-in-Residence with both the National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Brass Band of Wales. His work, Invisible Cities, for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, not only received performances around the UK but was also subsequently released on CD by the orchestra.
The Royal Society of Arts awarded Christopher Painter a Fellowship In December 2003.
In August 2005, Christopher won the prestigious Tlws y Cerddor (Musicians Medal) at the National Eisteddfod of Wales for his chamber work, Yr Hanes Swynol (A History of Charms). He won the award for a second time in 2010 for Syniadau’r Serch (Thoughts on Love), a cycle of songs for baritone, violin and harp.
Between Autumn 2005 and Spring 2006 Christopher was Composer-in-Residence with the Thueringen Philharmonie in Gotha, Germany. Here he worked closely with Welsh conductor Alun Francis and his tenure ended with the premiere of a major work for the orchestra, Forest of Dreams, which received two performances and was broadcast on German television. The work subsequently received its UK premiere with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, under the direction of Jac van Steen, in April 2009.
In 2010, the Lunar Saxophone Quartet premiered his Lunar Seas on their These Visions tour and the work was released on Signum Classics. This followed an earlier recording, also on Signum, of his Sonata for Alto Saxophone, commissioned by Welsh saxophonist, Lara James.
In 2006, his Symphony No.3 - Fire in the Snow received its première in Mexico City where it was twice performed by the Orchesta Filharmonico de la UNAM under the direction of Alun Francis and broadcast on Mexican national television.
In March 2011, Furnace of Colours was premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and soprano Claire Booth, conducted by Jac van Steen, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.