Christian Henson

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Christian Henson (born 25 December 1971) is a British composer, primarily working on television and film soundtracks. He has also soundtracked video games, and is the co-founder of Spitfire Audio with fellow composer Paul Thomson.[1] Henson has been nominated for a BAFTA[2][3] and an Ivor Novello Award for his music.[4]

Early life[edit]

Henson is the older son of actors Una Stubbs and Nicky Henson.[5][6] His younger brother Joe Henson is also a composer, as is his half-brother Keaton Henson. His uncle was the farmer and television presenter Joe Henson and Adam Henson is his cousin.[7] His great-uncle was the cricketer Geoffrey Howard. His great-great-grandfather was Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the garden city movement and the first garden cities Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City. His paternal grandfather was the English actor and comedian Leslie Henson, who was perhaps best known for founding the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) during the Second World War.

As a child, Henson acted in the 1980 film Never Never Land. After attending Holland Park Comprehensive in the 1980s,[8] in his youth Henson worked for three years as a baker, with a home studio that he used in his spare time. He suffered a brain haemorrhage at 25, gave up his bakery job and moved into music and voiceover producing and engineering full time, as well as making music for porn videos.[9]


In the early 1990s, Henson worked on drum and bass and breakbeat music with acts such as LTJ Bukem and the Freestylers.[3]

From 1997-2001, he worked as an assistant for composers Anne Dudley, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rupert Gregson-Williams and Patrick Doyle. Henson cannot read music, and taught himself how to orchestrate soundtracks.[10][11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Henson gained a 2007 Ivor Novello Awards nomination for 'Best Original Movie Score' for his work on the 2006 film Severance.[4] He received 2004 World Soundtrack Awards "Soundtrack Composer of the Year" and "Discovery of the Year" nominations for Les fils du vent.[12]

Henson was nominated, along with fellow composers Jerry Goldsmith and The Flight (his brother Joe Henson and Alexis Smith), for a BAFTA for the music of the Alien: Isolation video game in 2015.[2][3][13]

Spitfire Audio[edit]

Henson founded the British music technology company Spitfire Audio with fellow composer Paul Thomson in 2007. The company is a producer of musical "virtual instruments", and has collaborated with noted film composer Hans Zimmer, as well as Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Olafur Arnalds, Roger Taylor of Queen, Eric Whitacre, and most recently with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.[14] In 2018, Henson launched a website called Pianobook, dedicated to creating and sharing sampled instruments for free. It is run by a small group of volunteers, but anyone could share and use sounds, for free.

Henson has since stepped away from Spitfire Audio on September 5 2022 following a tweet supporting Graham Linehan and J. K. Rowling’s transphobic views posted on his personal Twitter account, which he temporarily deactivated afterwards.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Henson is married to Scottish singer and songwriter Dot Allison. They live in Edinburgh, Scotland.[7][11]

Selected works[edit]



Video games[edit]


  1. ^ "Orchestral manoeuverers: the 'virtual instruments' that allow anyone to be a composer". The Independent. 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "2015 Games Music | BAFTA Awards".
  3. ^ a b c "Christian Henson". ADE.
  4. ^ a b "Archive | The Ivors | The Ivors Academy | Champions of Music Creators". The Ivors Academy.
  5. ^ Coveney, Michael (17 December 2019). "Nicky Henson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  6. ^ Power, Vicki (2 August 2013). "Una Stubbs: My family values". the Guardian.
  7. ^ a b "Christian Henson's New Social Channels".
  8. ^ Christian Henson, 10 Golden Rules of Orchestral Programming, via YouTube at 7:04
  9. ^ #27 HOW TO BREAK INTO WRITING MUSIC FOR FILM & TV PT i - YESTERDAY. YouTube. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Christian Henson Interview | Co-Founder of Spitfire Audio". Pop Disciple | Film Music & Music Supervision Interviews | Music in Media News.
  11. ^ a b Spitfire Audio’s Christian Henson Interview. YouTube. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  12. ^ Awards, World Soundtrack. "Discovery of the Year - Awards". World Soundtrack Awards. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  13. ^ "The Flight interview: Alien Isolation, composing for video games". Den of Geek. 4 October 2015.
  14. ^ "About Spitfire Audio". Independent. 24 April 2019.
  15. ^ Sandeman, George (8 September 2022). "Composer suspended over tweet backing Rowling's gender views". The Times. Archived from the original on 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.

External links[edit]