Christopher Mayo

Orchestration & Arranging


Whitehorse | Roy Thomson Hall | Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Orchestrations of Die Alone, Nighthawks, and Gracie were commissioned by Roy Thomson Hall as part of Orchestrated: a night of music featuring Canada’s best contemporary artists backed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The first performance was given by Whitehorse and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lucas Waldin on June 15, 2019.


DVSN | Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Red Bull Music Festival

Commissioned for the Red Bull Music Festival and first performed by DVSN and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lucas Waldin, October 19, 2018 at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto.

Having Daniel Daley strut across the venerable Roy Thompson Hall stage, in front of an orchestra and backing choir, felt like the culmination of genre potential actualized...

A stripped-down piano version of “Body Smile” showcased versatility and a rousing, on your feet rendition of breakout track “Hallucinations” showed how far the group have come. The blend between the symphonic and pre-recorded parts worked to stay in synch: the orchestra segment was sonically satisfying, Daley’s vocals sounded stronger than ever and a tuxedoed Nineteen85 kept things moving on an elite level.

R&B, in Canada, is finally in a space where it is fully respected, fully realized and the gatekeeper barriers to entry — that curtailed the success of our soul singers of the past — are easier to bypass.
— Ryan B. Patrick, Exclaim!


King Britt | Alarm Will Sound

On May 9 2018 at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries, Alarm Will Sound presented three new pieces by King Britt: "The Intention," "The Moment of the Fall," and "The Cosmos Feel Me." The music is in the vein of King's project, Fhloston Paradigm which is a manifestation of afro-futurist ideals, based in an electronic music landscape. Past AWS collaborators and Mizzou International Composers Festival residents Christopher Stark, Charlie Peck, and Christopher Mayo helped bring these pieces to life.

Leela Gilday & Sylvia Cloutier | National Arts Centre Orchestra

This seven-player version of Ama Anaana was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and first performed December 5th, 2017 at St. Jude's Cathedral, Iqaluit, NU.

Accompanied by seven of the orchestra musicians who travelled to the fly-in Nunavut capital as part of NACO’s Canada 150 tour, there was a sense of disparate worlds coming together as Gilday’s contemporary songwriting and Cloutier’s unique style of throat singing merged with the Western classical tradition, thanks to remarkably inventive orchestral arrangements by Toronto’s Christopher Mayo.”

”The combination of NACO player Colin Traquair’s trombone and Cloutier’s solo throat-singing made a riveting starting point for the first piece, We Fall, soaring as Gilday stepped in with her acoustic guitar and an opera-trained voice that took things to even greater heights when they hit the chorus.
— Lynn Saxberg - Ottawa Citizen


Carly Rae Jepsen | Toronto Symphony Orchestra

These orchestrations of Run Away With Me, Making the Most of the Night, Gimmie Love, E•MO•TION, Your Type, Tug of War, When I Needed You, Boy Problems, All That, Let's Get Lost, Call Me Maybe and I Really Like You were commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with financial support from the Government of Canada for performance during the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The first performance was given by Carly Rae Jepsen and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra June 17th, 2017. These orchestrations have subsequently been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

At Roy Thomson Hall, before the show, the crowd quivered. Strangers babbled at each other, smiling like maniacs. The orchestra began, suddenly, in a way that resembled star formation—dense clouds of melody floating in suspension and then, under piccolo flurries and timpani rolls, fusing into one. A sax line emerged, neon with yearning, and Jepsen came out to sing “Run Away with Me,” unprotected by reverb and curling her voice tight around the notes.”

”The orchestra was heartbreaking, restrained by the simplicity of the songwriting and yet inherently hyperbolic. The violins took up the moments where, normally, on her albums, you’d hear Jepsen ad-libbing with interjections. Instead of a “Hey!” their bows would strike, like an epiphany, a burst of sweetness outside the realm of words.
— Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Tanya Tagaq, Christine Duncan & Jean Martin | Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Qiksaaktuq was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage for performance during the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The first performance was given by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by André de Ridder at the New Creations Festival, March 4th, 2017. Qiksaaktuq has subsequently been performed by the Victoria Symphony, the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. 

Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq is probably one of the most important artists in Canada right now. Not only does she provide a Millennial link for indigenous artists that have broken through the popularity barrier, but she has also transcended genre — disrupting notions of what contemporary music is and can be.

Her masterpiece last night was found in Qiksaaktuq, a five-movement work composed by Jean Martin, with orchestration by Toronto’s Chris Mayo. Conducted by André de Ridder, the piece pushed forward a powerful message of remembrance for the countless murdered and missing indigenous women across Canada.

Despite the precarious nature of improvisation, the performance was remarkably tight. The TSO acted as a container of sorts, which gave Tagaq the freedom to fully embody the emotional narrative that was composed right there in plain sight. Tagaq’s mighty voice grunted, yelped and cried. But the most powerful moments where when she crooned gentle vocal hymnals that brought the audience directly into her inner world. At one point, Tagaq was seen looking down to the floor with tears, holding her hands over her eye as she waved back and forth on the stage. It was chilling stuff.
— Michael Vincent,

Carly Rae Jepsen | Polaris Music Gala | Toronto Symphony Orchestra

A string quartet arrangement of Your Type commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for performance at the Polaris Music Gala, September 19th, 2016.


Drake | Polaris Music Gala | Toronto Symphony Orchestra

A chamber arrangement of Drake's Know Yourself commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for performance at the Polaris Music Gala, September 21st, 2015.

...the Toronto Symphony Orchestra giving the track their treatment is ridiculously dope, too.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra won some fans last night at the 2015 Polaris Music Awards Gala. Performing Drake’s hometown anthem “Know Yourself,” members of the TSO unveiled an impressive arrangement by Christopher Mayo for hundreds of attendees at The Carlu in Toronto. The small string section included a short solo by TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow backed by drums and a shimmering vibraphone.

Matthew Herbert | London Sinfonietta

One Day was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta and first performed 20 November 2010 at the Royal Festival Hall, London. 

Goldie | BBC Concert Orchestra

Sine Tempore was commissioned for the BBC Proms and first performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Charles Hazelwood August 1st 2009 at the Royal Albert Hall. The process of writing the piece was captured as part of the BBC Classical Music Television documentary Classic Goldie.