Born in San Francisco in 1967, Christopher Morris Whiting grew up in a home in which the love of music was a way of life. His father, Lee Whiting, was the popular voice of classical radio KKHI in San Francisco and regularly hosted concert broadcasts and interviews with prominent guest artists of the San Francisco Symphony. With access through the radio station to the largest classical music record collection west of the Mississippi, Christopher Morris Whiting grew up first and foremost a music fan and listener. For over 30 years he has been performing as a violinist and conductor, sharing his infectious enthusiasm with a worldwide audience.
Currently based in Switzerland, Mr. Whiting enjoys a rich and diverse concert schedule as both a conductor and violinist. He regularly leads Zurich’s legendary Tonhalle Orchestra, standing on the very podium from which Johannes Brahms himself conducted the orchestra’s inaugural concert in its current hall in 1895. His conducting duties with the Tonhalle Orchestra also include creating and performing programs for school children, families and adult amateur musicians, inspiring audience members of all ages in innovative ways to become active participants in the concert experience.
From 1999-2009 Mr. Whiting was music director of the Orchesterverein Wiedikon, a chamber orchestra in Zurich. From 2010-2016 he was music director of the Winterthurer Symphoniker. In 2013 he undertook a rare concert tour of India with the Winterthurer Symphoniker during which he performed in sold out Chowdiah Hall in Bangalore, collaborated with Indian musicians, brought the orchestra to primary schools, taught master classes at music schools, reached thousands of listeners at more remote locations with piano trio performances and gave frequent radio, television and newspaper interviews.
Christopher Morris Whiting has enjoyed working with adult amateur musicians for many years in preparing demanding symphonic programs. Their pure love and devotion to music remain for him a source of fresh inspiration. Highlights of these concerts include performances with the European Doctors Orchestra in Berne, Switzerland, and a return engagement with the same orchestra scheduled in June 2016 in the Grand Hall of the historic Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. For the 2017 season he will be leading the Music Collegium Urdorf, Switzerland.
He continues to perform as a first violinist or concertmaster in some of Europe’s finest orchestras and opera houses such as the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Zurich Opera, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and the Festival Strings Lucerne. Striving toward the highest instrumental performance standards himself has enabled him to observe and absorb the most motivational and effective rehearsal techniques of outstanding conductors such as Franz Welser Möst, David Zinman, Marin Alsop, Herbert Blomstedt, Bernhard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Christian Thielemann, Alan Gilbert, Charles Dutoit, Riccardo Chailly, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen and many others.
Mr. Whiting feels strongly that chamber music is an ideal medium with which to connect with listeners. From 1999-2009 Mr. Whiting was a member of the Niziol String Quartet, with performances throughout Europe and radio, television and CD recordings. The idealistic and collaborative nature of the string quartet informs Mr. Whiting's work with symphony orchestras and management teams in both musical and organisational terms.
A sought-after music pedagogue, Mr. Whiting is on the faculty of the Zurich University of the Arts where he leads its newly formed Pre-College Orchestra and prepares the university's symphony orchestra and new music ensemble for a variety of performances. He also dedicates himself to the development of the next generation of professional orchestral musicians through his highly successful courses in orchestral repertoire and audition preparation.
Mr. Whiting strives to program music that is rooted in the time and place shared by the audience, the contemporary music of the local culture, supporting music that resonates with the experience of today’s listener.
His dozens of published articles in Strings Magazine are further testimony to his enthusiasm as a musical communicator.
Christopher Morris Whiting received degrees in music from the University of California at Berkeley and the Lucerne School of Music in Switzerland. He was invited to work with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival in 2007 and 2008, and to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music by Marin Alsop in 2009. He attended masterclasses in St. Petersburg, Russia with Leif Segerstam, professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and in Moscow with Colin Metters, professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
A lifelong fan of Bay Area sports teams the Giants, 49ers and Warriors, Christopher Morris Whiting is an avid marathon runner. He resides in Zurich with his wife, pianist Elaine Fukunaga.