In constant demand as a collaborative partner, pianist Blake Riley has been praised for his beauty of tone, passion and communicative powers. Through his performances with Pensacola Opera's Salon Series and other concerts, he has worked with artists from some of this country's leading opera houses, including San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Houston Grand Opera.
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, he attended Mount Allison University and the University of Toronto. In addition to many awards and scholarships, he was among several young Canadians whose achievements were honored by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew The Duke of York. He was awarded full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he received a Masters of Music. While there, he played in masterclasses with Warren Jones, Brian Zeger , Stephanie Blythe and was also an apprentice coach at CCM's summer program in Lucca, Italy.
Since arriving in Pensacola, Blake has been a faculty member in the music department at the University of West Florida, where he is also the conductor of the University of West Florida Singers and University Madrigals. He has worked with the Pensacola Opera, Pensacola Children's Chorus, Pensacola Little Theater and the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. In addition to playing orchestral piano for the symphony, the University of West Florida Singers have been frequent guests of Maestro Peter Rubardt on several occasions. In 2009, Blake and Mezzo-Soprano, Elise Quagliata were invited to perform for King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain, on the occasion of their visit to Pensacola.
Possessing broad musical and artistic interests, Blake also enjoyed a ten year career as a professional dancer. This culminated in four years in the Broadway Company of Miss Saigon. One of his proudest accomplishments was the merging of musical and dance careers when he conducted Miss Saigon's entry into the annual Broadway 'Gypsy of the Year'' competition at the Palace Theater. Judged by theater luminaries, Fred Ebb , John Kander and Chita Rivera, the performance was awarded 'Best in Show'.