Born in London in 1954, composer Richard Blackford was hailed at his debut by the Italian press as 'the brightest new star in the constellation of the European avant-garde'. Since then, his music has been performed and broadcast all over the world and he has received numerous commissions for stage, film, and television. In 1977 he established the Music Theatre department at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art; commissions from the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera, and Royal College of Music soon followed. His compositions for theater include work on King, a musical based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King with lyrics by Maya Angelou. The play premiered in London’s West End in 1990, and was revived as part of President Clinton’s second inaugural celebration. Blackford has been featured in the Adelaide, Cork, Montepulciano and Berlin Festivals, and is the recipient of several awards including the Houston Film Festival (first prize), the Royal Television Society Award, the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Tagore Gold Medal.