Richard BlakeRichard Blake - Southbank Sinfonia
Trumpet

Richard was first introduced to music by his parents; his father was Principal Horn in the Ulster Orchestra for over 30 years and he received his first piano lessons at the age of 5 from his mother. He became a chorister in the choir of St Georges Parish Church and nurtured his love of music while studying at Methodist College Belfast and the City of Belfast School of Music. In 2011 Richard completed a BA in Music at the University of York, where he was awarded the Ed Burrell Prize for Performance, and the Blake Prize for orchestral studies.

Whilst studying for his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music, Richard performed regularly with various Academy ensembles under the baton of distinguished conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Yan Pascal Tortelier, and Sir Mark Elder. Highlights include playing in the Olympic Park, King’s Place, the Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, and live on Radio 3. He studied with Paul Beniston, Rod Franks, Mark David and natural trumpet with Robert Farley. He is honoured to have been supported in his studies by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.

Since graduating, Richard has played frequently as a guest with the Ulster Orchestra and has recently been awarded a trial for Second Trumpet in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the BBC Singers and St James Baroque, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, and for a month’s residency in Paris, the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Notable performances include playing the Telemann Concerto live on Radio Rai Bolzano with the European Brass Ensemble, and the Haydn Concerto as guest soloist with the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra at the Ravello Music Festival in Italy. Richard has also appeared with the Royal Academy of Music Period Instrument Baroque Ensemble as trumpet soloist in Bach’s Cantata 147 as part of the Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series.

Richard is also active as a studio and session musician, having appeared on Justice Collective’s single He Ain’t Heavy featuring Sir Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams. This record became the Christmas Number 1 Single of 2012. He played lead trumpet in the Southwark Playhouse production of Mack and Mabel, which has been nominated for Best Musical in the London Evening Standard Awards. Richard is also in demand as an arranger and orchestrator; highlights include working with the Det Norske Blåseensemble on an arrangement of Handel’s Dixit Dominus for their summer solstice concert, and orchestration for an Ulster Orchestra education project with the charity RiCh Music.

Vigilante Brass, Richard’s latest project, mixes classically trained musicians with arrangements of rock, pop and dance tunes. They have released various videos on YouTube to a warm reception.

Richard is an avid Ulster Rugby fan and enjoys running, good food and a quiet pint.

Did you know? Richard is running the 2014 Oxford Half Marathon as part of a team of 25 Southbank Sinfonia musicians and staff. Find out more >

Quickfire Questions

What is your earliest musical memory?
Mum used to tell a story of me as a toddler sitting up and crawling towards the TV when Ride of the Valkyries came on!

What’s on your playlist right now?
Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now (electronic/ambient)
US Air Force Airmen of Note – Live (big band)
Rattle and CBSO – Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Rush – Permanent Waves (rock)

Richard’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by Help Musicians UK.