chris peirce - full bio

Chris was born and brought up in North-West London; he started his musical career with a toy piano at the age of about 5, progressing through piano grade exams to Grade 8. His entire experience was in the realm of classical music until a friend at church asked him to record a record of Eric Clapton onto tape; intending to do it with volume turned off, he accidentally caught the first bars of "Layla". Hearing it was a turning point, and he began to explore the roots of the rock music on the record, becoming increasingly interested in the earlier electric blues players who had inspired Clapton.

He started playing the organ at his church at the age of 13, and after studying pipe organ at school, went to Lancaster University to read music, specialising in the pipe organ.

Whilst at university, one of the lecturers lent him a CD of the legendary acoustic guitarist Isaac Guillory. It was like listening to a whole band played on one instrument, and Chris was mesmerised by it. He persuaded his mum to buy him an acoustic guitar, and spent the next three years at university learning to play it. He also developed a passion for jazz, and spent two years playing alto sax in a jazz quintet – in between accompanying choral evensong on the pipe organ.

Graduating from university, Chris returned to London to study for an M.A. in Music Education. He now teaches music, when not focussing on practising and performing as a guitarist.

"There is a natural tendency to try to label music according to received traditions," says Chris. "But there is a magical point where the historical gravitas of the Classical tradition, the intellect and imagination of jazz, the raw expression of the Blues and the wildness and passion of folk music combine to form a unified musical experience. If I can spend one minute in a gig playing in the centre of that vortex, I'll go home satisfied."

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