Richard studied at the Royal College of Music, and was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal and the Mendelssohn Scholarship, he then studied in Italy with Hans Werner Henze. He was Composer-in-Residence at Balliol College Oxford and later with the Brno Philharmonic. He completed his Doctorate at Bristol University, where he has lectured in Advanced Orchestration. His music, which includes opera, ballet and many works for orchestra, chorus and chamber ensemble, has been performed and broadcast worldwide, and has been recorded on Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Decca, Signum and Nimbus labels. He has composed over 200 film and television scores, including over 140 feature dramas for ZDF Germany, the award-winning Song For A Raggy Boy, and Fingersmith for the BBC. In 2000 his four-hour choral and orchestral score for CNN/BBC Millennium won an Emmy Award for Best Title Sequence and for which Richard was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Music.
In July 2015 Richard was awarded Die Goldene Deutschland for services to music in Germany, along with Placido Domingo. His Niobe, a Czech Philharmonic commission for solo violin and orchestra, was given an ovation at its premiere in the Rudolfinum, Prague in 2016, and was released on Signum Classics. In 2018 his Kalon, for string quartet and string orchestra, was premiered by BBC NOW under Martyn Brabbins. Pietà, a joint commission from The Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and St Alban’s Choral Society, received a standing ovation at its premiere at The Lighthouse, Poole in June 2019, and won the Ivor Novello Composer Award in 2020 in the Choral Category.
Richard Blackford is a Trustee of Music For Youth, the Aberystwyth MusicFest and The Bach Choir, Chair of the English Music Festival, and is President of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. He is published by Novello and Nimbus Publishing.
I have a rare background, in that I have had a successful career across media music as well as classical and received the 2020 Ivor Novello Composer Award for the Choral Category. Since finishing my PhD three years ago I now devote my life to writing classical music and doing significant charitable work. I believe strongly that classical music is underrepresented in schools and in the wider music community. As a PRS Writer Council Member I would ensure that the voices of classical composers, publishers and organisations are heard. But it is the combination of my experience of both media and classical music that would bring a unique and beneficial view to the Council table. As a Trustee of Music For Youth and The Bach Choir I have years of valuable committee experience, especially during the pandemic, with the necessary expansion of bold online digital projects in place of live events. As a media composer, with over two hundred film credits, I am familiar with licensing, publishing and negotiating with broadcasters. I believe passionately in opportunities for young composers and musicians, and believe in music as a way to break through barriers of background disadvantage, to promote diversity and inclusion in our schools and communities. In an age of streaming, I support PRS’ commitment to champion its members’ copyrights and to achieve fairness and proper reward for their works. I would work with the imaginative new initiatives of PRS Foundation, the creation of new partnerships and the giving of grants to pioneering organisations and individuals that represent the future of our music industry. As a writer Council Member, I would be proud to be part of the PRS team as it faces the unprecedented post-COVID-19 challenges, and supports musicians to re-build and re-generate live and recorded music in the UK.