Born in Florence, SC, Chris grew up listening to the sounds of gospel, soul, R&B, and blues even though he and his friends weren’t quite accepting of this “old people’s” music. However, as a product of his own environment Chris eventually came full circle and would later pull from these early listening experiences to develop his overall approach to music today. Chris’ natural fluency in both classical and jazz styles separates him from most musicians.
Chris is now in his thirteenth season with the New Century Saxophone Quartet, the first ensemble of its kind to win first prize at New York City's world famous Concert Artist Guild competition. With NCSQ Chris has performed throughout the world and in 48 of the 50 United States.
His performing career is complemented equally with an active freelance jazz career in NYC. He is a member of the Stan Rubin Orchestra, Valery Ponomarev big band (jazz trumpeter/music director formerly of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) and George Burton’s “Group 5.” Chris has performed and recorded with musicians all over the world including Azucar, Pittsburgh's premier salsa band, legendary jazz drummer Roger Humphries, funk and jazz bassist Dwayne Dolphin, legendary soul and R&B singer Patti LaBelle, jazz saxophonist Lew Tabackin, Azerbaijani jazz pianist Shahin Novrasli, master funk drummer Poogie Bell, legendary funk bassist Victor Bailey, drummer/percussionist sensation Kahlil Kwame Bell, trombone/arranger Frank Lacey, legendary saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, bassist Tony Depaolis, and with jazz trumpeter Sean Jones.
Mr. Hemingway also leads his own group the “Chris Hemingway Quintet”. The Quintet performs all over the country and throughout the world. This group features George Burton on Piano, Craig Magnano on guitar, Wayne Smith on Drums, and Ryan Berg on bass. These master vibe-creators don't merely walk the genre-crossing edge, but rather run it with rock-infused chords heavy with swing, groove, and mood. Their exchange of surprising harmonies, angular rhythms, pointed chords, use of space, and rhythmic elasticity bring deliverance from the traditional rules of engagement, breaking barriers between audience and musician, resulting in an organic harmonic symbiosis.
In 2007 Mr. Hemingway won an Emmy Award as a performer of WQED's (PBS affiliate station) "Live From Studio A.” As a sophomore at Duquesne University, Chris won the School of Music's prestigious concerto competition. At the young age of 21, he was also a featured soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Chris has studied with James Houlik at the North Carolina School of the Arts and at Duquesne University.