Chris Dench was born in London in 1953. After periods living in Tuscany and West Berlin, the latter as a guest of the DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm, he finally arrived to settle in Australia; he became an Australian citizen in 1992 and currently lives in Newcastle, NSW.
He has had works commissioned by ensembles and individuals on three continents and is particularly recognized as a composer for solo woodwind instruments, having composed fourteen pieces for the genre at last count. He has enjoyed a close relationship with Australia's ELISION ensemble for over fifteen years; he has also had fruitful collaborations with other musicians, including, in the last few years, Kathleen Gallagher, Mark Knoop, Geoffrey Morris, Peter Neville, Marilyn Nonken, Michael Norsworthy, Carl Rosman, and the Libra ensemble.
His works have enjoyed extensive performances, recordings, and broadcasts in Europe, Australia, North America, and Asia, including the Huddersfield Festival, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik, Music of Changes in Los Angeles, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland, the Hong Kong ISCM/ACL World Music Days, ForumMusic Taipei, and the Gobi Desert.
In 2002 Peter Neville, Guy DeBlét, Elizabeth Davis, Eugene Ughetti, Mark Knoop, and conductor Carl Rosman gave the long-delayed first performances of his 1994 percussion quartet beyond status geometry. More recently, ELISION recorded for NMC a disc of his music including ik(s)land[s] and the blinding access of the grace of flesh.