Richard Blake

Principal Second Trumpet

Belfast-born and bred, Richard joined the CBSO as principal 2nd trumpet at the beginning of 2015. He had his first piano lesson from his mum at the age of five but didn't pick up the trumpet until he was ten – as he had to wait until his baby teeth fell out!’

Utterly convinced that he didn’t want to be a musician, Richard nonetheless spent seven days a week in musical rehearsals of some form from the age of 15. From chapel choir to wind band at school during the week, a symphony and jazz orchestra on Saturdays and playing the organ in churches around Belfast on Sundays, it’s fair to say Richard was pretty busy. He says of his dad, who played horn in the Ulster Orchestra, that ‘it’s probably his fault that I eventually gave in to the music obsession!’

After telling Cambridge University’s leading expert on Handel that he ‘wanted to write music for video games’, Richard went to study music at York University. It was there, after three years of performing non-stop, that he realised music college was the next step so he went to the Royal Academy of Music.

Before joining the CBSO, Richard spent a year with the Southbank Sinfonia. He’s also spent time in Paris with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire at Romantique as well as periods with the Ulster Orchestra and the European Brass Ensemble.

With just a few months with the CBSO under his belt, Richard says every week has been a highlight and he is really looking forward to the European tour with Andris Nelsons and performing Mahler 3 with him in June.

When he’s not playing, listening to or collecting music, Richard enjoys rugby, running, games consoles and good food. He’s also been conscripted to the CBSO cricket team. He also runs Vigilante Brass – a group that plays rock and pop music whose videos can be found on YouTube.