Charles was born in 1962, in Wolverhampton, where he lived till he was 14, then moved to Shrewsbury, learning piano, bassoon and viola. He did an undergraduate degree at Sheffield University in Music with the aim of earning a living as a composer, before doing a Master's Degree in Music Theory and Analysis, as well as attending the Darmstadt Summer School of New Music in 1982 and 1984.
After realizing just how few people made a living from composition in England in the mid 1980s, he embarked instead on a successful career in IT in Chesterfield (near Sheffield), working for 26 years for Midland Bank/HSBC in all aspects of Project work, eventually reaching the giddy heights of Head of Group Mainframe Software Configuration Management.
An external rationalisation of staff in 2012 led to the offer of redundancy, which he gladly accepted! Part of the redundancy package was some life coaching. Doing this made him resolve to follow his original dreams of being a composer, but not before a spell as an IT contractor took him to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he now lives. He had private composition lessons with Dr. Tom James, then undertook a second Master's degree, in Composition for the Screen at Edinburgh College of Art. Additionally he has had recent studies with composers John Lunn, Garry Schyman, Helge Borgarts, Miriam Cutler and Joe Kraemer, arranger Nan Schwartz, and the legendary orchestrator Conrad Pope.
He has three grown up children.
INTERESTS AND PASSIONS
By inclination, Charles may be seen as a polymath - as someone said at his leaving do from HSBC, "Charles is somebody that knows a lot about a lot". Lots of things interest him, and when he gets interested in something, he tries to find out as much as he can about it. Although a musician by training, he has a scientific and mathematical background. An early interest was linguistics and etymology (he studied Greek and Latin at school, as well as French).
Within IT, he is an expert in database design, messaging theory and software configuration management, as well application design, the software development lifecycle and troubleshooting problems.
Whilst studying at ECA, he took additional courses in the organology of the various different types of instruments, and has built up a collection of about 50 western and non-Western instruments, including a viola which he made from scratch over the course of ten(!) years. He also took courses in Sound Design, gaining knowledge of the fundamentals of sound creation and of acoustics as well as courses in Real Time and non-Real Time Electroacoustic music, Linear music and non-Linear music.
His taste and knowledge of different music is very broad - ranging from Ancient Greek, through Plainchant to Medieval, Renaissance, Common Period to the twentieth and twenty-first century, with interests in Jazz, Balkan, Maqam, Georgian and Indian music. His interest in Music Theory has led him to explore the nature of Consonance and Dissonance, as well as an interest in micro-tonal music.
He is a keen advocate for amateur music-making. During his IT years, he founded and ran a small chamber choir, and now sings in a local Community Choir (4-part A Capella, learnt by rote) and plays viola in the Really Terrible Orchestra.
He enjoys the culture to be had in Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland - concerts, theatre, exhibitions, off-the-beaten-track films, installations - as well as a pint of good beer. He volunteers with local Arts charity Hidden Door, Scottish Love in Action and CineScapes, as time allows.