Christopher Tin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Christopher Tyng, the American composer known for his work on Futurama.
Christopher Chiyan Tin
Christopher Tin.jpg
Tin in 2007
Born Christopher Chiyan Tin
(1976-05-21) May 21, 1976 (age 40)
Redwood City, California, United States
Occupation Composer
Christopher Tin
Chinese 田志仁

Christopher Chiyan Tin (born May 21, 1976) is an American composer whose work is primarily classical with a world music influence. He is a composer for films, video games, and commercials and has won two Grammy Awards for his classical crossover album, Calling All Dawns. Tin is best known for his composition Baba Yetu, featured in the 2005 computer game Civilization IV, the first piece of music composed for a video game to ever win a Grammy Award.

Life and career[edit]


Christopher Tin was born and raised in Redwood City, California to immigrant parents from Hong Kong. He worked on his undergraduate education at Oxford and Stanford University.[1] At Stanford, he was active in the taiko group,[2] Stanford Taiko, and conducted the a cappella group, Stanford Talisman,[3] several musicals,[4] and choral concerts at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.[5] He graduated in 1998,[4] receiving a BA with Honors in Music Composition and English Literature. He continued to study at Stanford and received an MA in Humanities in 1999.[6] After a period as an exchange student in Oxford, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, the first to be awarded for film scoring, to study composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music in London.[7][8] There he graduated with an MMus with Distinction and the highest grades in his class and was the winner of the Horovitz composition prize.[8] While in London, he was commissioned by the United States Embassy to compose music for a string quartet.[4] In 2003, he became a Sundance Institute Film Music Lab Fellow.[9]

Tin returned to Los Angeles and continued his career by producing TV show music. His first internships were with Hans Zimmer, composer for The Lion King and Gladiator, and Joel McNeely, with whom he worked on Mulan II.[4] Tin's first opportunity to compose his own music came when John Ottman contacted him to work on X-Men 2, where he composed several original themes.[4][5] Independently, he has composed Daydream for Apple Inc.'s music software GarageBand, and the music for an international advertisement of Puma SE.[5] He has also worked on TV show music, notably for Nova, The History Channel, and Discovery Channel.[5]

Baba Yetu[edit]

Tin's biggest break came in 2005, when video game designer Soren Johnson, his former roommate at Stanford, asked him to compose the theme song for Civilization IV.[10] Tin responded with "Baba Yetu", a choral, Swahili version of the Lord's Prayer performed by Stanford Talisman.[11] It has garnered a huge critical response, with over 20 reviewers singling out the theme on IGN, GameSpy, and Game Shark,[12] and is a persistent favorite of blog posts.[a] Tommy Tallarico called it "incredible",[13] and the piece is a staple of his concert tour, Video Games Live. It won Tin two awards at the GANG (Game Audio Network Guild) Awards in 2006.[5]

On December 5, 2010, it was reported that Baba Yetu was nominated for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in the "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)" category, making it the first video game theme nominated for a Grammy Award.[14] On February 13, 2011, it was announced as the winner of its category, making it the first piece of music composed for a video game to win a Grammy Award.[15] At the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards, Baba Yetu was the winner in the "Song Used in Film/TV/Multimedia" and "World Beat Song" categories.[16]

Baba Yetu has been performed at various venues and events around the world, including The Dubai Fountain, the Kennedy Center, Royal Festival Hall, the Hollywood Bowl,[5] and the New Year's Concert of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly.[17]

Calling All Dawns[edit]

In 2009, Tin released his classical crossover album Calling All Dawns. The album won two Grammys in the 53rd Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), and was nominated for the 'Contemporary Classical Album' category at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards.

The album is a song-cycle in three uninterrupted movements: Day, Night, and Dawn (corresponding to life, death, and rebirth). The twelve songs are sung in twelve languages, including Swahili, Polish, French, Persian, and Maori. The lyrics are taken from diverse sources, including the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, Persian and Japanese poetry, and lyrics by contemporary writers. Appropriate vocal traditions are used in the performance of each song, and include African choral music, opera, medieval chants, and Irish keening.

The album features performances from over 200 musicians on six continents, including Frederica von Stade, Anonymous 4, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Dulce Pontes, and Sussan Deyhim. It was never intended to be performed live, as Tin believed that a single choir would balk at the idea of learning the 12 languages. However, despite the challenge, many groups[18] have performed the entire album in concert, including Angel City Chorale who performed the piece's west coast premiere on June 7–8, 2013.[18]

The Drop That Contained the Sea[edit]

Christopher Tin's second song cycle, titled The Drop That Contained the Sea, premiered at Carnegie Hall on April 13, 2014. It was performed by a chorus made up of several choral groups from around the United States, Canada, and England, as part of a concert produced by Distinguished Concerts International New York. The album's presale began on April 13, and it was released on May 8, 2014. It consists of ten songs, each sung in a different language, beginning with Proto-Indo-European and including Bulgarian, Turkish, Mongolian, Xhosa, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit. The song cycle follows the Water Cycle much like Calling All Dawns followed the day and night cycle.

The US West Coast Premier of The Drop That Contained The Sea occurred on June 7 (and repeated on June 8, 2014) by the Angel City Chorale, one of the choral groups performing on the album itself.

Collaborative projects[edit]

In 2009, Christopher Tin and multi-instrumentalist and producer Shoji Kameda formed a Los Angeles-based production duo, Stereo Alchemy. Their debut album, God of Love, was released February 14, 2012.[19]

Tin also worked with the ISCMS (International Schools Choral Music Society) in Beijing, where he conducted a choral and orchestral arrangement of his piece, Temen Oblak. The performance was the premiere of the piece.



Tin's works include both concert pieces and incidental music for films, TV shows, video games, commercials, and other multimedia applications. His works, scores and clients include:[5]


Film music[edit]

Video game music[edit]

Music for online projects[edit]

Music for commercials and software[edit]

Music for television[edit]


  1. ^ For examples, see:
    • "Sushi Delight" (November 20, 2005). "Baba Yetu". Once Upon a Dreamer. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
    • "D.B. Light" (December 26, 2005). "Christopher Tin; He Might Be the Next John Williams". Light Seeking Light. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
    • "Adrian" (March 15, 2007). "Baba Yetu". Mssv. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
    • "Violence Worker" (May 12, 2006). "Baba Yetu". Violence Worker. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
    • "M" (September 20, 2006). "Baba Yetu". My Flights of Fancy. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 


  1. ^ Tin, Christopher. "Biography". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Members 1998-1999". Stanford Taiko. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Music". Stanford Talisman. 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Oxfeld, Jesse (2004). "Getting in Synch". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Christopher Tin: Composer" (PDF). Tin Works. October 10, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Christopher Tin". Alfred Music Publishing. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The 'shakti' of sound". The Hindu. Mar 27, 2003. Archived from the original on August 21, 2003. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Tin, Christopher. "Biography". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ "BMI and Sundance Announce 2003 Composers Lab Fellows". Broadcast Music, Inc. August 4, 2003. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Looking Back... Civilization IV". CVG. July 6, 2006. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Talisman featured on Civilization 4". Stanford Talisman. March 11, 2005. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ Tin, Christopher. "Press". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ "The 'Definitive' Tommy Tallarico Interview". Music 4 Games. February 20, 2012. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ Langshaw, Mark (December 5, 2010). "'Civ IV' theme nominated for Grammy". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ Senior, Tom (February 14, 2011). "Civilization 4 wins grammy for Baba Yetu six years after release". PC Gamer. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Christopher Tin". The Independent Music Awards. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  17. ^ Viva Vox Choir (Belgrade) - New Year's Concert of the 67th Session of the General Assembly. UN Web TV. January 14, 2013. Event occurs at 25:29. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Tin, Christopher. "Christopher Tin - Biography". Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Stereo Alchemy Home". Stereo Alchemy. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 

External links[edit]