Billy Childs was born in Los Angeles on March 8th,1957 to Joseph and Mable Childs. At age six, he was enrolled in piano lessons by his parents, both fervent music lovers. The younger Childs developed rapidly, and at age sixteen entered the Community School of the Performing Arts, a preparatory music program sponsored by the University of Southern California. Although the initial focus of his energies had been piano performance, he was so inspired by the teachings of his theory professor, Marienne Uzsler, that he shifted his attention to composition. In 1975, he entered USC as a composition major, graduating four years later with a bachelor of music in composition under the tutelage of Robert Linn. |
Since then Mr. Childs has received a number of orchestral commissions, including: Tone Poem for Holly (1993) and Fanfare for the United Races of America (1994), each commissioned and premiered by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; The Distant Land (1995) by the Akron Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alan Balter; Music for String Orchestra (1989) for the Plymouth Music Series, conducted by Phillip
Brunelle; and Concerto for Percussion and Concert Band (1986) by the North Texas State Wind Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Corporan. His cantata, Just Like Job, also commissioned by the the Akron Symphony
Orchestra, had its world premiere on March 15, 1997. Shortly after thecompletion of Just Like Job, Childs then commenced work on A Day in the Forest of Dreams written for woodwind quintet and piano and commisioned by the Dorian Wind Quintet. The work was premiered in September, 1997 at Merkin Hall in New York city, and was recorded in spring of 1998. It was
also performed in January 1999 by Childs with members of the L.A. Philharmonic as part of its chamber series. In addition, Childs composedthe soundtrack for the Australian movie, "Flynn", starring Austrailian
actor Guy Pearse. The soundtrack was nominated for an Ausralian FilmInstitute Award. In the summer of 2003.
Childs was one of six composers out of 300 to be selected for a Sundance Film Composers Lab Fellowship.
He also has a book of music published by the Hal Leonard Corporation ("Artist Transcriptions: The Billy Childs Collection").
Childs‚ solo jazz recording career began in 1988, when he released Take For Example, This..., the first of four critically acclaimed albums on the Windham Hill Jazz label. He followed that album with Twilight Is Upon Us (1989), His April Touch (1992), and Portrait Of A Player (1993). A long friendship with Chick Corea resulted in Chick’s asking Billy to join his new (at the time) label, Stretch Records, upon Childs‚ departure from Windham Hill Jazz. His next album, I’ve Known Rivers on
Stretch/GRP (now Stretch/Concord) was released in 1995. Childs then followed with The Child Within, released on the Shanachie record label in 1996. In two years (1996 & 1997), Childs was nominated three times
for a Grammy award; twice for "Best Instrumental Composition"(1996 -"The Starry Night" from "I’ve Known Rivers" and 1997 - "Aaron’s Song" from "The Child Within") and once for "Best Performance by a Jazz
Group" (1997 - "The Child Within").
This year (2002), Childs received a fourth Grammy nomination in the category of "Best Arrangement
Accompanying a Vocalist" for his arrangement of "Fascinating Rhythm" on "The Calling - Celebrating Sarah Vaughn" (Dianne Reeves). Skim Coat (2000), recorded with Buster Williams and Carl Allen, and BedtimeStories (2001) are Childs’ most recent recordings to date.
Childs has been commisioned twice by the Monterey Jazz Festival: once to write an extended piano concerto (Concerto for Piano & Jazz Chamber Orchestra - 1994) and also to arrange a set of original compositions for
Bobby Hutcherson (1998). In the fall of 2000, Childs arranged, orchestrated, and conducted the Dianne Reeves CD, "The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughn". Childs immediately followed the Dianne Reeves
project by composing, arranging and orchestrating on two Chris Botti CDs: "Night Sessions" and "December". Last year, Childs composed the score to "Crazy As Hell", a film directed by Eriq LaSalle, and produced
the CD, "Rhythm Of Life", by Verve recording artist, Claudia Acuna. In addition, Childs arranged two songs on an upcoming CD by Renee Olstead, produced by David Foster.
He has also performed with his own trio in
Carnegie Hall and has conducted the St. Louis Symphony. Most recently, Childs has completed "For Suzanne" a commissioned composition for the
Los Angeles Philharmonic. He will perform this work along with the L. A. Philharmonic and Dianne Reeves, on January 24, 2004 in the newly constructed Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry.
Upcoming commissions include, among other things, a major work for the Los Angeles Master Chorale scheduled for premiering in spring 2005.
Currently, Mr. Childs lives in South Pasadena, CA with his wife and two sons.
Bedtime Stories - 32 Jazz
Skim Coat (w/ Buster Williams & Carl Allen) - Metropolitan Records
The Child Within - Shanachie Records
I‚ve Known Rivers - Stretch/Concord
Potrait of a Player - Windham Hill Jazz
His April Touch - Windham Hill Jazz
Twilight Is Upon Us - Windham Hill Jazz
Take For Example, This... - Windham Hill Jazz
With Freddie Hubbard
A Little Night Music - Fantasy
Best of Freddie Hubbard - Pablo/distributed by Fantasy
Born to be Blue - Pablo
Keystone Bop - Fantasy
Live at the Northsea Jazz Festival - Pablo
Skagly - Columbia
Blues for Miles - Alfa Jazz
With Dianne Reeves
The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughn - Blue Note
Bridges - Blue Note
Dianne Reeves - Blue Note
I Remember - Blue Note
Welcome to my Love - Palo Alto/Blue Note
With Grover Washington
Aria - Sony Classical
Breath of Heaven - Columbia/Sony
With Other Artists
Claudia Acuna, Rhythm Of Life - Verve
Chris Botti, Night Sessions - Sony
December - Sony
J.J. Johnson, Concepts in Blue - Pablo
J.J. Johnson & Nat Adderly, The Yokohama Concert - Pablo
Joe Locke, The Music of Henry Mancini - Milestone
Sound Tracks - Milestone
Slander (and other love songs) - Milestone
Philip Bailey, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Watson, Tony Williams, Pride of
Lions - Sony Masterworks
Kent Jordan, Essence - Columbia
Alan Holdsworth, Atavachron - Enigma
Bunky Green, Healing the Pain - Delos
Eddie Daniels, This is Now - GRP
Headhunters, Return of the Headhunters - Verve/Polygram
Lou Rawls, Seasons for You - Polygram
Gary Lemel, Lost In Your Arms - Atlantic
Recorded Classical Compositions
Akron Symphony Orchestra, American Voices - Telarc "The Distant Land"
North Texas Wind Symphony, Wildflowers - Klavier "Concerto for Solo
Percussionist and Concert Band"
The Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota, Witness , Volume III - Collins
Classics "Piece for String Orchestra"
The Dorian Wind Quintet, First Glimpses Of Sunlight -
Summit Records "A Day In The Forest Of Dreams"