Christopher Kent read music at the University of Manchester and studied organ and conducting at the Royal Manchester College of Music and musicology at King's College London. In 1973 he received the Hilda Margaret Watts Prize for the M.Mus. examination, and in 1976, a Louise Dyer Award for research into British Music from the editorial committee of Musica Britannica. After completing a Ph.D. on Elgar's sketches he continued organ and harpsichord studies with Gustav Leonhardt prior to joining the Department of Music at the University of Reading where he established an influential postgraduate course in Organ Historiography. He retired from this post in 2002 to devote more time to research, writing, and performing.
His conducting studies in Manchester were under George Hadjinikos and whilst at Reading directed a number of Elgar works including the ‘The Music Makers' the Violoncello Concerto and a centenary performance of the ‘Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf' in 1996.
His main publications include A Guide to Elgar Research, the second edition of which, revised and expanded to include a Thematic Catalogue. Latterly, he has contributed to the Cambridge Guide to Elgar, the Cambridge Musical Instrument Guide to the Organ, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and The New Dictionary of National Biography. He is a member of the Association of Independent Organ Advisers, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Trustee Councillor of The Royal College of Organists.
As an organist he has performed widely in Britain, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and the U.S.A. Recent papers at musicological conferences include the 2006 Handelfest in Halle and the 2008 and 2009 Oxford Symposiums of the British Institute of Organ Studies. Since 1983 has been honorary organist at the chapelry of St. Nicholas, Tytherton Lucas, Wiltshire. His recordings include the organs of the Stiftkirche, Klosterneuberg, Austria (Freundt 1632) and the Walpurgiskirche, Grossengottern, Germany (Trost 1716) which was inspirational for instrument in Bowood House Chapel (Collins 2002) for which he was the consultant. In 2014 he received the C.B. Oldman Award of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres for his Elgar Thematic Catalogue and Research Guide.
A selection of recital venues have included: Bristol Cathedral (1986 & 1996), Chester Cathedral (1991) St. Paul's Cathedral, London (1978 & 1991), Grosvenor Chapel, London (1993 & 1999), Malmesbury Abbey (1990), Reading Town Hall (1984), Trinity Church, Boston, U.S.A. (1988), University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1988), Holywell Room, Oxford (Lecture-Recital for the Oxford Keyboard Forum 1989), Hexham Abbey (1993), Memorial Hall, Methuen, Mass., U.S.A. (1993), Varazdinske Toplice, Croatia (1994), Varazdin Baroque Festival; Souvigny (Allier), France 1995; Tortona Cathedral (Alessandria). Italy; S. Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, 1996; Klarisky Church, Bratislava 1996; Stellenbosch 1998; Bath Abbey 2002. Devizes Festival 2003. Ste. Croix, Bordeaux, 2004, Bradford Cathedral, 2005;York Minster 2006; Christ Church (City), Bristol, Cirencester Organ Festival, St. Swithin’s Church, Worcester, Portsmouth Cathedral 2011; The Temple Church, London and Garbana Italy 2015; St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Everingham,Yorkshire 2016.