CHRIS WATFORD is a Boston/New York based bassoonist concerned with the expansion of the instrument's capabilities. Praised for giving "smooth varnish" (Boston Globe) to his performances with a "clear consistent tone," Watford works to advance the instrument's relevance within diverse contexts. As a specialist in contemporary music, his performances transcend traditional practice to explore the limits of microtonality, extended techniques, improvisation and electroacoustics. His work with composers often investigates unfamiliar sounds and extreme sonic identities, with a specific dedication to the exploitation of the bassoon's acoustic peculiarities.
Watford has worked closely with such leading composers as Salvatore Sciarrino, Pierluigi Billone, Tristan Murail, Franck Bedrossian, Christian Wolff, John Harbison, and Elliott Carter. He is a member of Boston's acclaimed new-music sinfonietta Sound Icon and has appeared with the NotaRiotous ensemble, Callithumpian Consort, A Far Cry, Nonce Ensemble, New England Conservatory’s First Monday series, the SEM Ensemble, and the Concord Chamber Music Society, among others, as well as solo performances in London at the UK Microtonal Festival and residencies at the Virginia Arts Festival and Boston University's Center for New Music.
Recent notable engagements include a performance of Olga Neuwirth's Torsion for solo bassoon and ensemble with Sound Icon, a guest artist residency at BU's Center for New Music, solo recitals focused on the works of Pierluigi Billone (presented by Boston University) and newly commissioned works for microtonal bassoon (presented by the Boston Microtonal Society), the first American performance of Salvatore Sciarrino's Tre duetti con l'eco for flute, viola and bassoon, under the composer's supervision, and the premiere of BODY MATTER, a major large-scale work for solo amplified bassoon by Timothy McCormack, as well as collaborations with the Transient Canvas duo on new works for bassoon, bass clarinet and percussion. Forthcoming events include a residency at the 2017 Euro MicroFest in Freiburg and the premiere of a new large-scale work for bassoon and electronics by Katarina Miljkovic.
Watford is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts where his principal teachers included Richard Svoboda and Mark Popkin. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and Boston, MA.