Howard Blake

b. 1938

British

Summary

Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that ‘Howard Blake has achieved fame as pianist, conductor and composer.’ He grew up in Sussex, from the age of 11 singing lead roles as a boy soprano and at 18 winning the Hastings Festival Scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music, where he studied piano with Harold Craxton and composition with Howard Ferguson. Over an intensely active career he has written numerous film scores, including 'The Snowman', which was nominated for an Oscar after its first screening on Channel 4 in 1982 and has won many other prizes internationally. His famous song ‘Walking in the Air’, for which he also wrote the lyrics, was the success that launched Aled Jones in 1985, whilst the concert version for narrator and orchestra is now performed world-wide as well as the full-length stage show/ballet. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and in 1994 received the OBE for services to music.

Biography

Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that ‘Howard Blake has
achieved fame as pianist, conductor and composer.’ He grew up in
Sussex, from the age of 11 singing lead roles as a boy soprano and at 18
winning the Hastings Festival Scholarship to The Royal Academy of
Music, where he studied piano with Harold Craxton and composition with
Howard Ferguson. Over an intensely active career he has written numerous
film scores, including 'The Duellists' with Sir Ridley Scott and Lord
David Puttnam which gained the Special Jury Award at the Cannes Festival
in 1977, 'A Month in the Country' with Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth
which gained him the British Film Institute Anthony Asquith Award for
musical excellence in 1989, and 'The Snowman', which was nominated for
an Oscar after its first screening on Channel 4 in 1982 and has won many
other prizes internationally. His famous song ‘Walking in the Air’, for
which he also wrote the lyrics, was the success that launched Aled
Jones in 1985, whilst the concert version for narrator and orchestra is
now performed world-wide as well as the full-length stage show/ballet,
celebrating its 13th consecutive Christmas season in 2010 for Sadler’s
Wells at The Peacock Theatre in London and, touring this year in Korea.
The Stage Show is to be released on DVD by Sony in the autumn of 2010.

Howard has composed many concert works, including the Piano Concerto
commissioned by The Philharmonia Orchestra for the 30th birthday of
Princess Diana in 1991 in which he also featured as soloist: the Violin
Concerto to celebrate the centenary of the City of Leeds in 1993; the
cantata to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations
Organization in 1995, performed in the presence of the Royal Family in
Westminster Hall; and the large-scale choral/orchestral work
'Benedictus', championed by Sir David Willcocks and the Bach Choir,
given its London premiere in Westminster Cathedral in 1989 with Cardinal
Hume as narrator and widely performed ever since.

More recent works are ‘Lifecycle’ - 24 pieces for solo piano - recorded
for ABC Classics in 2003; ‘Songs of Truth and Glory’ , The Elgar
Commission for the Three Choirs Festival in 2005; and a first recording
of ‘The Land of Counterpane’ a song-cycle to words by Robert Louis
Stevenson recorded in the Usher Hall Edinburgh in March 2007 with The
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which he conducted. In 2008 he was pianist
with violinist Madeleine Mitchell in a CD for Naxos of his works for
strings and piano and in August 2009 undertook a major recording for the
same company conducting 'The Passion of Mary' and 'Four Songs of the
Nativity' with London Voices and the RPO. He is a Fellow of the Royal
Academy of Music and in 1994 received the OBE for services to music.

9th August 2009

News

Performances

21st November 2020

PERFORMERS
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
LOCATION
Bass Perf Hall / Fort Worth, TX / United States

5th December 2020

PERFORMERS
Seattle Symphony
CONDUCTOR
Lee Mills
LOCATION
Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, United States

8th December 2020

PERFORMERS
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
CONDUCTOR
Joshua Weilerstein
LOCATION
Lausanne, Switzerland

9th December 2020

PERFORMERS
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
CONDUCTOR
Joshua Weilerstein
LOCATION
Lausanne, Switzerland

16th December 2020

PERFORMERS
Carrot Productions (Whibley)
LOCATION
Buxton Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, United Kingdom

Photos

Discography