Christopher James (born Christopher James Roberts) is an American composer, producer (Paula Cole, Renée Fleming, Val Gardena) and ex-CEO of Universal Music Group’s Classical and Jazz division.
An accomplished classical pianist, he earned a B.A. in Music and German Literature at Lewis and Clark College in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. His graduate studies in Musicology at the University of Illinois took him to Germany for post-graduate research. He stayed, and for several years he composed and produced music for the German film and television industry. With a style reflecting pop, as well as his classical and jazz training, James’ music was heard in prime time on various German National TV networks. Musical influences include Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Brian Eno, Jimmy Webb, John Barry, George Gershwin, Bach, Chopin, Ravel and Stravinsky.
In 1988 a unique opportunity presented itself when PolyGram Records was refocusing its strategy on International markets. Roberts was brought on board to lead this effort in New York City. Five years later he was promoted to President of Classical and Jazz Music. During his tenure, Christopher oversaw the world’s largest and most successful classical and jazz label group while working with, and signing, some of the genre’s greatest artists, including Luciano Pavarotti, The Three Tenors, Renèe Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Lang Lang, Chris Botti and Andrea Bocelli. Additionally, he was executive producer on some of the most successful albums of the past twenty five years including Sting’s On a Winters Night, Gladiator (soundtrack), Wicked (Broadway Cast and Grammy winner), Spamalot (Broadway Cast and Grammy™ winner) and The Boy from Oz featuring Hugh Jackman.
During the 1990’s, Christopher James quietly continued composing with his group Val Gardena releasing three albums for Mercury Records including a top 10 single “Northern Lights”.
Christopher James is now re-dedicating himself to his true passion of composing and making new recordings. Over the last five years he has released four albums: A Different Place, A Different time; Synesthesia; House by the Railroad and the new album, The Sad Waltz, produced with his long term collaborators, Bob Stark and Grammy award winning engineer, Kevin Killen.
Christopher James’ owns all his master recordings and publishing rights and composes works across multi-genres for synch and licensing use.