Chris Craker has operated at the very forefront of the music industry for over 25 years. Grammy nominated, he has also won numerous awards and been acclaimed for his activities as a performer, recording artist, composer, arranger, producer/engineer, record label founder, artist manager, author, critic, industry commentator, strategic advisor, and most recently as the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the International Division of Sony BMG Masterworks, where he maintained offices in both London and New York. He resigned from that position in April 2008 and is now fully independent once more. In addition to consulting to a number of high profile music, media, TV and arts organisations, Chris is working on numerous multi-media projects in Europe and SE Asia.
Chris also recently opened a state of the art luxury residential recording studio complex in Thailand, called Karma Sound Studios, where in just the first year of opening, the first guests have included three of the world's iconic global bands, Placebo, Jamiroquai and Bullet for my Valentine alongside Young Guns, Enter Shikari, In Colour, Franko, Myra, Tata Young, The Bride, Heroes for Hire and many others - other visitors have included Jessie J and Jimmy Page: www.karmasoundstudios.com
In an illustrious career since the early 80s Chris has acted as the A&R Director and produced over four hundred classical, jazz and pop recordings and has gained a unique position as one of the most respected record producers based in the UK, responsible for selling many millions of records and helping to shape the careers of many hundreds of artists. His activities have taken him extensively throughout Europe, America and the Far East working on projects for BMG, EMI, Decca, Virgin, PolyGram, Universal, Sony, Koch, ASV, Naxos and Marco Polo (as well as 30 other independent record companies).
In the 90s, from his state of the art post-production studio in London, Chris quickly developed an international reputation, running one of the most innovative and efficient recording facilities from the UK, providing A&R concepts for many of the major labels around the world and technical facilities through his company Black Box Music Limited. In April 1998, he launched his own record label, Black Box. Now owned by Universal, the label maintains the reputation as one of the first and independently most successful elite boutique labels in the classical and jazz fields.
Chris has worked with many of the world's finest artists, orchestras and soloists throughout a career spanning some thirty years. He has acted as a concept provider for various music products marketed by PolyGram/Universal, Sony, Decca, EMI, Classic FM/BMG and Virgin, often managing every stage of the creative process from the A&R and concept development through to providing the finished master and advising on global strategic marketing. Internationally renowned for his work with the London Symphony and the New York Philharmonic Orchestras, he has also been responsible for either producing and/or marketing recordings by some of the world's truly greatest classical artists in Murray Perahia, John Williams, Yo Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Viktoria Mullova, Barbara Bonney and many others. Highlights from the jazz world include co-producing Vince Mendoza's ultimate cross-over album. 'Epiphany' featuring the LSO with jazz icons Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, John Taylor and many other stars. In 2002 Chris was Executive Producer and was responsible for the international marketing campaigns for Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts' Big Band albums, recorded live at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club in London. And on the pop front, he has either played on or worked in a marketing capacity for recordings featuring Elton John, Sarah Brightman, Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Alan Parsons, Joni Mitchell and many others. He conducted the musical Chess in the West End working alongside Benny and Bjorn from Abba and featuring West End musical legend, Elaine Page, as well as being involved in productions in the West End, London, of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar. Chris also co-produced the Chris de Burgh 'Live in Bangkok' album for which he was also Musical Director and conductor for the live shows. Recent collaborations have been with the Number One best selling composer Karl Jenkins, producing the new cross-over classical/world music album 'Tlep' for Sony BMG, featuring the virtuoso violinist Marat Bisengaliev. Chris also conducted the Kazakh premiere in Astana of this work, in the presence of His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew. Following on his royal connections, Chris was the Executive Producer for the Royal Wedding CD celebrating the marriage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Chris has also worked with icons from the world of film and TV including Brooke Shields, Joanna Lumley, Rik Mayall, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Dame Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart and many others.
As Executive Producer for the new recording from the world's most celebrated guitarist, John Willams, (live in concert with jazz guitar icon, John Etheridge), Chris has covered all styles of music from early classical to contemporary jazz and pop - also having massive chart success in South East Asia with a number of pop artists throughout the late 90s.
Over the past ten years Chris has frequently undertaken recording projects in the USA and Asia, and has formed a strong link with many recording artists in those territories. In South East Asia, he has produced more than ten recordings in Thailand featuring the compositions of His Majesty The King of Thailand, King Bhumipol Adulyadej, which has been an absolute career highlight for him. Chris was also selected to produce the music for the Asian Games, for which the hit theme song 'Reach For The Stars', performed by Sony BMG pop artist, Ta Ta Young, sold over 2.3 million copies and went straight to Number 1 in the pop charts. In the summer of 2006, Chris produced two albums specifically in honour of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary on the throne in Thailand - one featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the other, recorded in Bangkok, featuring arrangements by Privy Councilor, HE Rear Admiral Mom Luang Usni Pramoj with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.
Also active as an author of books about music, Chris has had three books available in seven languages, worldwide. The first in the series, Get Into Classical Music is accompanied by the CD of the same name featuring recordings from the Naxos catalogue, while Get Into Opera and Get Into Jazz have been co-productions with Sony and Universal, respectively.
Before devoting his time to the record industry, Chris was well known as one of the leading clarinettists and saxophonists in the UK - frequently performing, touring and recording with the many of the major London orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Chamber Orchestra, as well as working extensively with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and the Prometheus Ensemble (one of Britain’ s premier chamber ensembles) of which he was the founder member and artistic director for ten years.
As an experienced performer, record company executive, musicologist/author, record producer and engineer, Chris is also in demand as an industry spokesperson on radio and TV and acting as a strategic consultant to numerous organisations (agents, TV, radio and internet broadcast and media companies) and as an adjudicator for a number of International Music Competitions around the world, including the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, the Uralsk International Violin Competition, the KPN Music Award and various pop and songwriter competitions.