Leslie Christopher Palmer was born in The Hague, Netherlands, of Canadian parents, and he grew up in London, England. He holds an A.R.C.M. and a G.R.S.M. from the Royal College of Music, London, and a B. Mus. from the University of Ottawa. Christopher now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and works as a professional bassoonist with Symphony Nova Scotia. He also plays piano and organ, and has been active in the community as a teacher, coach, conductor, and organizer of music events.
His training and experience in the Classical, Jazz and Pop traditions serve him well as a composer and arranger. He has composed scores for Symphony Nova Scotia, the Blue Engine String Quartet, Rhapsody Quintet, The Halifax Camerata Singers, Upstream, and other groups in a variety of styles.
As an arranger he has worked with many East Coast artists of different backgrounds, among them Lennie Gallant, Dave Gunning, Bruce Guthro, Ben Caplan, Mary-Jane Lamond, Natalie MacMaster, the Barra MacNeils, Eleanor McCain, Heather Rankin, Meaghan Smith and Vishtèn. His arrangements of songs by Leonard Cohen, for the Blue Engine String Quartet with singer/actor Cliff Lejeune, have been performed many times, and recorded and broadcast by the CBC. He has written orchestral arrangements of songs by Gordon Lightfoot for J.P. Cormier. And in 2021 the NAC Orchestra commissioned some arrangements for Reggae artist Jahmilah.
Many of his compositions use local Celtic influence, including Pier 21 Overture, which incorporates Irish fiddle tunes and a Nova Scotian folksong. It is scheduled for performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on July 1st, 2023. Maritime legend inspired For Those In Peril On The Sea. Other orchestral works include Overture: Juvenescence (commissioned and premiered by the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra), and Suite de Jazz for jazz trio and orchestra, featuring Dinuk Wijeratne as piano soloist. Ships and Flags: A 2012 Overture was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and was performed on the Halifax waterfront as part of the 2012 Tall Ships Festival. The performance was broadcast nationally on CBC Radio.
Recent commissions include Halifax, December Sixth 1917 for choir and chamber ensemble, commemorating the Halifax Explosion on the centenary of the disaster; and Fanfare for Province House (2019), celebrating the 200th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s legislature building, and Light in the Forest (2021), commissioned by visual artist Holly Carr and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, for a multi-media presentation. He is currently working on his latest commission from Symphony Nova Scotia - a yet-to-be-titled work to celebrate the orchestra's 40th anniversary. It will be premiered in the Fall of 2023.
© 2023 L. Christopher Palmer, Composer and Arranger
Photo by Jean Palmer 2019