He has won four Grammys and has worked with the likes of Aled Jones, Pavarotti and Alfie Boe.
But it was during his time as a schoolboy in Wolverhampton that Chris Hazell acquired his love of music.
He even had a spell in front of the camera when he presented, and wrote the music for, the popular 1980s children’s TV show Let’s Pretend.
The former pupil of St Jude’s Primary and Wolverhampton Grammar School, started learning the piano aged just six.
Today he works with some of the most famous orchestras in the world and composes music for glittering occasions such as Last Night of the Proms and BBC’s Songs of Praise.
Mr Hazell, aged 65, who has two daughters, Jasmine and Ruth, as well as two grandchildren, says after leaving school he went to the Royal College of Music and then joined a music publishers. “At that time music wasn’t seen as a good career choice, you felt the chance of getting a job in music was going to be tough.
“My mum, Eunice, told me I could always teach if I did fall on hard times, I didn’t want to be a teacher but I know it is a valuable job – I wouldn’t be where I am now without my teacher at school.
“After leaving college I joined a music publishers and they asked me if I wanted to have a go at writing songs and one of them was taken up by The King’s Singers, and recorded by Decca.”
Decca Records were so impressed with his music they took him on as a producer.
“I was only 22 at the time and had just been in the right place at the right time.
“Mr Hazell, who grew up in Finchfield, was with Decca for 25 years and worked with stars including Joan Sutherland, Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti.
“Pavarotti could be difficult to work with but then there are a lot of big-time singers that are like that – their voice is their life,” he says. Chris, who now lives in Bedfordshire, is now the director and owner of ICBA Music Ltd where he works regularly with stars such as Alfie Boe and Aled Jones.