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Chris Becker

Houston, TX   

The music of composer Chris Becker is equally inspired by rock and roll language, avant-garde jazz, dub compositional strategies, and musique concrète. He has created music for dance, film and mixed media installations and received grants and awards from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Meet The Composer, the American Music Center (now New Music USA) and the American Society of Composers and Publishers.

Becker’s music for dance includes the score for choreographer Rachel Cohen’s evening-length work If The Shoe Fits (2005), named one of the best dance performances of 2005 by New York Times dance critic John Rockwell. In 2017, Cohen and Becker’s Recidivistas was performed in New York’s Socrates Park, with a cast of 30 female dancers. Becker’s multimedia collaboration with painter and video artist Lillian Warren and dancer Annie Arnoult Who You Once Were was performed to sold out audiences August 23 and 24, 2019 at Aurora Picture Show, Houston, TX. Becker has also composed music for New York choreographers Sasha Soreff (The Other Shoe, Ailey Citigroup Theater, 2009) and Adrian Jevicki (La Spectra, The Tank, 2009), Martha Graham company principal dancer Blakeley McGuire (Waterfall, video, 2011), and choreographer Rebecca French (The Rite of Summer, Cullen Theater, Wortham Center, 2015).

Becker’s recent projects include scoring artist Jil Guyon’s award-winning film Widow, which premiered February 4, 2014, at the Dance on Camera Festival presented by Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Since its premiere, Widow has screened at several festivals and museums across the U.S. and Canada, including the Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec City, Canada. Becker’s second collaboration with Guyon, Vigil (2015), has screened widely as well. For their collaboration, WIDOW_Remix (2016), Becker created the score from over a dozen solo voice improvisations by singer Helga Davis, who sang and tracked her performances while watching the film. In September 2019, four of Guyon’s videos scored by Becker screened at the Cinédanse Ottowa, Canada. Becker and Guyon’s recent collaboration Widow’s Walk was selected for the Rome Prisma Film Awards, and will be screen in January 2020. Vigil will screen at Traverse Video in Toulouse, France in March 2020.

Becker has been a guest lecturer at The Jung Center of Houston, Lone Star College at Kingwood, and Project Row Houses, and a guest composer at the NOW Music Festival at Capital University’s Conservatory of Music and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. As a laptop musician, he has performed live improvisations with jazz, rock, and noise musicians in Houston, New York, Columbus, OH, and Richmond, VA, often accompanying silent films. His music has been featured on  John Schaefer’s WNYC radio series “New Sounds” and Helga Davis’ “Evening Music.” 

Becker writes about music and visual art for Houston CityBook and has contributed articles and reviews to Acoustic Guitar, Sequenza21, and Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz, a collection of in-depth interviews with 37 female musicians of all ages, nationalities, and races, representing nearly every style of jazz one can imagine, and one of the contributors to Punk Ethnography: Artists & Scholars Listen to Sublime Frequencies (Wesleyan University Press). Upcoming projects include an EP of music co-composed with soprano Misha Penton with poetry by Stéphane Mallarmé to be released in January 2020. 

Who You Once Were (Composite)

This is a four-minute composite of just a few segments from Who You Once Were, a multimedia collaboration between Lillian Warren (video and project direction), Annie Arnoult (movement), and Chris Becker (original score). Performed at Aurora Picture Show on August 23 and 24, 2019. Both performances were sold out, and the audience response to the work was incredible.

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