Christopher Yates began studying the viola at the age of seven and at sixteen won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. He studied there with Stephen Shingles and other teachers have included Bruno Giuranna, Nobuko Imai and the members of the Amadeus Quartet. Whilst still a student, Christopher gave the UK Premiere of Penderecki’s Viola Concerto in the presence of the composer, which was highly acclaimed in the national press. He was the first viola player to reach the national final of the LSO String Competition where he played the Bartók Concerto with the LSO in the Barbican.
At the age of 22 he became the principal viola with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and became the viola section leader with the CBSO eighteen months later. He has appeared as a soloist with the CBSO on many occasions, playing the solo parts in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Tippett’s Triple Concerto, and Britten’s Lachrymae.
He has been a member of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group since joining the CBSO and has undertaken many tours, recordings and television and radio broadcasts with them. In January 2000 he gave the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s Lamenting with Ariadne which was written for him and BCMG, and has given several performances of John Woolrich’s Envoi for viola and ensemble with them. Most recently he gave the premiere of Howard Skempton’s Only the Sound Remains for viola and ensemble.
Christopher has appeared as a soloist at the Aldeburgh and Cheltenham festivals and gives recitals regularly at music clubs around the UK. In addition to his performing commitments he enjoys teaching and has taught for a number of years at Birmingham Conservatoire. He plays on a viola made by John Lott, circa 1830.