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211x278 Blake Riley

Blake Riley

  • Position: Associate Professor, Director of Collaborative Piano
  • Department: Dr. Grier Williams School of Music
  • Office Location: Building 82, Room 135
  • Campus: 850.474.2147


Blake Riley, associate professor and director of collaborative piano, teaches class piano, applied piano and foreign language lyric diction.

Riley is a collaborative pianist who 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 the country’s leading opera houses, including San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Houston Grand Opera. One of the many highlights of his career was performing with mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata for King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain during their visit to Pensacola in 2009.

From teaching non music majors to advanced pianists, Riley draws inspiration from seeing his students experience the joy of creating music. From 2010 through 2015, he conducted the University Madrigals and University Singers. The Singers had several opportunities to collaborate with the Pensacola Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Peter Rubardt. He has also worked with the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, Pensacola Little Theater and the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.

A multifaceted performer, Riley enjoyed a 10-year career as a professional dancer, culminating with dancing in the Broadway Company of “Miss Saigon” for four years. In addition to many awards and recognitions, he was one of several young Canadians whose achievements were honored by Prince Andrew, Duke of York. 

Degrees & Institutions

He studied at Mount Allison University and the University of Toronto and received a master's degree in collaborative piano from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he participated in masterclasses with Warren Jones, Brian Zeger and Stephanie Blythe. He was also an apprentice coach at CCM’s summer program in Lucca, Italy. 

Keywords: collaborative piano, classic piano, foreign language diction, Miss Saigon, Pensacola Opera