Originally from Syracuse, New York, Christian Chalifour started with the piano at age four. In 1960, for his ninth birthday, his grandmother took him on the train down to see and hear one of Leonard Bernstein's legendary "Young People's Concerts" with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. After the concert, he was treated to a brief, but very powerful backstage visit with his favorite maestro.
In 1963, Christian and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where he continued his piano studies, and also became organist and choir director at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, as well as performing in country western and rock bands during the Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction years.
In 1977, while working in Alaska's largest full line music store, Christian crossed paths with the late pop & jazz harp virtuoso, Lloyd Lindroth, who was on the end of a one-year engagement at the Golden Lion Hotel. "After my first visit to hear Lloyd play the harp, I was completely mesmerized, sold my piano to a lady down the street, and a week later had a Salvi concert grand harp in my living room. I figured having bought it, I'd better learn to make a living with it." Lloyd gave him three lessons, left him his favorite harp method book, and Christian was on his own. Fourteen months later, in July 1979, at the personal invitation of Victor Salvi who heard him play at the American Harp Society conference, Christian went to Santa Barbara a week later, where he won third prize in the 2nd Annual Salvi Pop & Jazz Harp Festival & Competition. And thus began his "self-inflicted whirlwind tour of the planet" aboard cruise ships, and in fine restaurants and resorts worldwide.
In 1994, Christian settled down in the Coachella Valley. A year later in 1995 he was handed the baton for Coachella Valley Symphony, and their newly formed Buddy Rogers Youth Symphony, by founder Thomas Mancini. Christian led both orchestras over the next fifteen years, also serving as music director for many desert productions of Broadway musicals, and continuing his harp engagements on the side.
In March 2010, Christian stepped down from the CVS podium, and shortly thereafter founded his own Desert Chamber Orchestra in February 2012. Over the past five seasons, the orchestra has enjoyed several stellar performances, including "If It Ain't Baroque, Don't Fix It!" featuring Christian's cousin, Los Angeles Phillharmonic Principal Concertmaster, Martin Chalifour, in a brilliant rendering of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Christian makes his home in the mountain community of Idyllwild above Palm Springs CA, where the peace and quiet of the natural setting give him a welcome break from the hectic pace of performing, rehearsing and conducting.