Chris Gardner was born in 1956, the son of the composer John Gardner. His musical training was at the Royal College of Music Junior Department where he studied timpani, percussion, clarinet and piano, and then at Sussex University where he took a degree in music. Most of his working life was spent at the Performing Right Society, where he had a number of jobs including that of IT Director, and he finished his working days as Managing Director of ICE Services AB, a Swedish Company owned by PRS and its Swedish counterpart, STIM. Musical activity took an increasingly back seat as his professional career developed, but as retirement came in sight, from about 2007, he began easing himself back into musical disciplines.
He is a versatile musician, working as a composer, timpanist, accompanist , conductor and occasional clarinettist. In 2014 he wrote the unaccompanied choral piece, entitled Somewhere in France... in which he set the words of the little-known poet H. Rex Freston. Cantique gave the first performance in September 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of World War I. His Te Deum is scheduled for performance by the Holybourne Singers in October 2015 and he regularly writes music for Alton's "Last Night of the Proms in the Town Gardens". These works have included Fiesta Telefonica for mobile phone (performed by the town mayor) and orchestra, A Hampshire Suite for country dance band and orchestra, and his latest, Dances of the British Isles, will be heard at the 2015 concert. As well as conducting Cantique he is joint conductor of the Alton Concert Orchestra and often plays piano for other local choirs and performing groups. He is musical director for the Alton Fringe production of Cabaret in November 2015, and did the same with Alton Operatic and Dramatic Society in Orpheus in the Underworld in 2014.