A pioneer of the field "Compositional Linguistics," Mann uses complex, parenthetical texts as the score for solo voice performances. His playful, improvisatory readings explore the texture, inflection and gesticulation of speech, with a musical emphasis on pitch and color. As is the case with truly unique work, it is not simple to sum up Mann’s work. To quote the poet Henri Chopin:
"Marrying meaning and the true music of the mouth, transforming writing into a succession of ‘audible’ diamonds, this is the voice of Chris Mann, reconciling the Oral with the Verbal which, for so long since its origins, has forgotten that it is essentially Speech."
Chris Mann has been deconstructed, interpreted and set by Tom Buckner, Herbert Brun, John Cage, Gary Hill, Annea Lockwood, Robert Rauschenberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Machines for Making Sense… His commissions include the Paris Autumn Festival, Australian Biennale, Berliner Festspiele, Radio France, Ars Electronica, National Public Radio, and the BBC, among many others.