Christopher Austin studied music at Bristol University, going on to complete postgraduate studies with Robert Saxton and Simon Bainbridge at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. While at Bristol he co-founded the Brunel Ensemble, of which he remained Artistic Director throughout its existence and with whom he conducted more than 40 premieres of new works. As a conductor he has retained this strong commitment to contemporary music, and has given more than 90 world and local premieres, including works by John Adams, Malcolm Arnold, John McCabe, Colin Matthews, Peter Maxwell Davies, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, Joby Talbot and Malcolm Williamson – to name but a few.

As an orchestrator Christopher’s work includes the Tony and Drama Desk award-winning An American in Paris for Le Châtelet Theatre (Paris) and Broadway, Joby Talbot's music for The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Son of Rambow and two Ivor Novello award-winning scores by Jeremy Sams (for Enduring Love) and Dan Jones (for Max). In 2003 he made arrangements of Wagner for New Line's Birth, directed by Jonathan Glazer. Christopher’s most recent film work includes the orchestration of Jeremy Sams' score for Hyde Park On Hudson (2012).

In 2006 Christopher Austin and Joby Talbot created Aluminium - an album of orchestral covers of songs by The White Stripes. Three of Austin's arrangements have subsequently featured in Wayne McGregor's ballet Chroma, for the Royal Ballet.

Other ballet scores orchestrated by Christopher include Joby Talbot's critically acclaimed score for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Ballet. In 2011 Christoper was commissioned by the Rambert Dance Company to create a score for Javier Fruto's ballet Elysian Fields, for which he arranged and orchestrated extracts from Alex North's score for the film A Streetcar Named Desire.

In 2010 Christopher was appointed Music Consultant for the British Film Institute’s Rescue the Hitchcock Nine project. The role gave him responsibility for commissioning new scores for all the silent movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Christopher Austin is a professor of composition, orchestration and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2009 his work there, in collaboration with the music critic Paul Morley, was the subject of a two-part BBC documentary called How to Be a Composer. He has also guest lectured at the University of Louisville (where he was a judge for the 2009 Grawemeyer Award) and the Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice.