Chris Sansom studied music at King's College, London with Geoffrey Bush and Ian Bent. In the 1970s his String Quartet - subsequently broadcast by the BBC in an Arditti Quartet programme - and Sleep for 60 solo strings with keyboards, harp and percussion were given public airings by the SPNM.
His Trumpet Concerto, the middle movement of which is in memory of Duke Ellington, was premièred in 1978 by James Watson with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band under Elgar Howarth and broadcast in 1985 with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist. The meeting with Hardenberger led to his largest work, Invisible Cities (1986/7) for trumpet, trombone and orchestra, which was written for Hardenberger and Christian Lindberg, who gave the première in The Hague with the Residentie Orchestra and a further broadcast performance with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, both times conducted by Elgar Howarth.
Other works include Double Entendre (1985), for piano and stereophonic brass band, Son of The Bebop Variations (1992) for trumpet, trombone and tape, performed by Håkan Hardenberger and Christian Lindberg, and works for Lontano and Odaline de la Martinez.