No.1 in Reverbnation Classical Charts
Notable credits include performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending’ for the funeral of the late Geoffrey Thompson MBE
Private recital for HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Duke of Edinburgh during the Centenary Celebrations
Highly coveted Performance for HRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their first public appearance following the announcement of their engagement
Craig has given Classical recitals of Concerti by Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Bruch, and encore showpieces by Kreisler, Wieniawski, and Sarasate at venues including Victoria Hall, St Georges Hall, Ashford Castle (Ireland), Prestonfield House (Edinburgh) The Alhambra Studio, Holy Trinity (Blackpool) and Allerton Castle. He has held Violin masterclasses at both Huddersfield University and Manchester University.
Craig has appeared as solo Electric violinist in international productions of Lord of the Dance in USA and Europe, he was the featured Rock Violinist for Swarovski’s 75th anniversary performance of Hot Ice, and in cirque-burlesque show Forbidden for Stageworks Worldwide Productions produced by Amanda Thompson OBE.
Early in his career he was often seen performing to British ‘Stags’ on ferry crossings from the UK to the Netherlands and Belgium. An unusual springboard for a male violinist perhaps, but this was just the beginning…
Privately tutored from the age of 9 by the former leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras, Dr. Peter Mountain, Craig’s musical training was orthodox. However, after diving straight in at Grade 8 gaining 142 Distinction (the only violin exam he took) he chose to carve his own unique career in a direction unknown to most, and he was seen as an inspiration to his peers in the Yorkshire Youth Orchestra and Bradford String Schools where he held position of Lead Violinist for 5 years, and his ambition was embraced with open arms.
While performing the Mozart Concerto No.3 in G, Dr. Mountain insisted that Craig played it on the Electric Violin he had boasted about recently buying. It was lime green! He brought the packed house down at the concert at St Georges Hall, Bradford and it was all over the press the next morning. During a period of his career which he would now rather forget (!) although his Mother refuses to let him, Craig was one fourth of acclaimed boyband StormForce showcasing his singing ability (ah bless) as well as featuring his rock violin skills. He was often found doing backbends on the bar as onlookers witnessed this crazy violin act!
He was subsequently nicknamed by his bandmates as ‘The Violator’ though we’re not entirely sure where that analogy came from!?
His creative and musical ability was soon spotted by a producer who was to create Craig’s first CD recording ‘Fiddle’ (no longer available) This led to various other recordings through Independent label KillerStrings founded by his then manager Lyn Kilcoyne, including his album ‘Crystal’ which Craig views as his true ‘debut’ album, and which has since gone on to sell over 13,000 copies with no marketing assistance or funding from any Record Company. He still sells this (debut) album at all his live gigs and it is available for digital download on iTunes and AmazonMp3 along with his latest album ‘Portrait’, and newly released singles ‘Aisling’ by Michael McGlynn and ‘Inflection’, a collaboration with Toronto-based Electro-House producers L I G H T F I E L D.
During his ‘crazy’ phase, Craig gave Violin performances in the most unusual places, to great hype and publicity ever raising his popularity among his growing posse of fans. He was seen atop the highest peak of the then tallest rollercoaster in the World, the Pepsi Max Big One. Continuing with the rollercoaster theme, he then appeared in the middle of a lake, in waders, beneath the Infusion rollercoaster, playing his specially commissioned crossover orchestral piece Metamorphosis, together with an Opera-singing Mermaid on a rock!
Hosted by Vernon Kay, the launch of this mega ride was a major press event for Pleasure Beach Blackpool and of course for Craig. He was then featured in an episode of ‘Little Britain’ and ‘Coronation Street’…. And why not??
In an attempt to tame his reputation to that of a legitimate Violinist, Craig then found himself in the theatre pit world of UK touring productions of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ ‘Miss Saigon’ ‘Oliver!’ and ‘Les Miserables’. Inter-dispersed with these runs, Craig managed to cram in 14 years of 9 week seasons of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular in Norfolk, UK as Principal 2nd Violin then 1st Violin and co-leader for his final few years there. During this time he got to work with some of the greatest Conductors in the UK and was soon ‘dep-ping’ in and out of the UK’s finest Orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North and Northern Sinfonia. One of the most enjoyable orchestral contracts was the ‘Symphonic Queen’ UK Tour in which a 52-strong Symphony Orchestra teamed up with the UK’s best ‘QUEEN’ Tribute Band (The Royal Family) at Britain’s largest concert venues, both inside and in the open air.
Fun and exciting as it was, being confined to the musical restraints of an Orchestra was not entirely part of the ‘big plan’ for Craig and he decided that in order to fulfil his dreams, he had to take 100% credit for his talent, and to this end he honed his Solo Violin shows with a musical accompaniment of 8 piece band and String section and took them to the high seas. He worked in conjunction with technicians to create a lighting plot for 2 of his productions, Crystal and Anthem. This time around he was not performing to ‘Stags’ on Ferries, but to circa 3000 guests per night on Cruise Ships for the likes of Celebrity, Cunard, Crystal, Seabourn, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, P&O, Princess and Oceania.
His shows are an exquisite take on some of the most recognizable (and unrecognizable) film scores, rock anthems, and modern compositions interwoven with Craig’s dry Yorkshire humour and beautiful video sequencing. Craig earns the standing ovations he receives every night and is only truly satisfied when he sees grown men trying to wipe tears from their eyes without their wives noticing! He gets the very best out of his Band and is well respected for that.
“I sometimes feel my Band is having more fun than the front row!” [Craig H.]
Having hung up his Electric Violins in 2013 in favour of his beautiful 1910 German Violin, he recently signed a unique deal with Cunard to commission his Rock Violin show ‘CrystalROCK’ as a unique offering to this Line only, and featuring the Swarovski Crystal Electric Violin. This is the original violin as created with Swarovski for the 75th anniversary Ice Skating production of ‘Amarin’ at the Hot Ice Arena, Blackpool. Craig is constantly juggling his 30 plus annual shipboard performances with Solo appearances in the UK.
He has performed at the London Palladium for breast cancer charity The Haven, alongside Brian Conley and Kimberley Walsh. Coincidentally, yet unrelated to the charity, Craig launched a season of ‘Haven’ holidays with Gareth Gates and made 3 subsequent ‘Special’ appearances during the season. After being 1 of 3 judges for the ‘Mr Gay UK’ finals alongside Emmerdale actress Verity Rushworth, Hollyoaks actor James Hutton. Craig was then asked to star as the opening act for ‘Leeds Gay Pride’. He was joined onstage by the beautiful Sophie Ellis-Bextor. With the ‘parade’ theme being ‘Over the Rainbow’ Craig set the event alight with his own Trance remix of the popular song arranged, and programmed by top producer Darren Sweeney.
Craig lives in Yorkshire on his farm with partner Dean, his 7 dogs, 16 Arabian horses, 10 Chickens, Harry (The Ginger Pig) and Priscilla (The Peahen)