At the standing ovation premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra in 2014 (a Cheltenham Festival commission with BBC National Orchestra of Wales) conductor Martyn Brabbins described its composer Richard Blackford as, “at the top of his game”.
Eleven further performances in the UK, USA and Germany have established it as a modern classic and have focussed attention on Blackford’s recent surge of activity in orchestral and instrumental music. Niobe, for violin and orchestra, commissioned by the Czech Philharmonic, receives its premiere in November 2017; Kalon, commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival for BBC NOW, receives its premiere in July 2018. His oboe concerto The Better Angels Of Our Nature, recorded for Champs Hill Records by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and featured at the 2016 Presteigne Festival with soloist Emily Pailthorpe, has attracted superlative press notices in the USA and UK. In April 2017 Nimbus Records brings out its fifth CD devoted entirely to Blackford’s music, every piece being orchestral or instrumental. 2017 also sees the premieres of Goodfellow (Conchord commission), Murmuration (Ensemble Variances commission). His choral music, for which he has an outstanding reputation, continues to be widely performed, with the 157thd performance of his St. Francis of Assisi cantata Mirror Of Perfection in March 2017 in St. John’s Smith Square. 2020 sees the premiere of a choral opera commission Half The Sky for the Bournmeouth Symphony Chorus.