Robert Cornford

Biography by

b. Robert Leslie Cornford, 15 May 1940, Brazil, d. 18 July 1983. Encouraged in his musical interests, in particular the piano, by his family (his British parents were resident in South America at the…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

b. Robert Leslie Cornford, 15 May 1940, Brazil, d. 18 July 1983. Encouraged in his musical interests, in particular the piano, by his family (his British parents were resident in South America at the time of his birth), Cornford studied at London’s Royal College of Music. While in his twenties he developed an interest in jazz and became a member of John Dankworth’s band and also arranged and orchestrated for the BBC. He was also a composer of note, writing extended works in tribute to Bill Evans, his earliest piano idol, and Ben Webster, both of which were performed by the German radio orchestra, NDR. His music has also been performed by the Danish State Radio Orchestra. He played with many important jazz artists, among them Mark Murphy, Norma Winstone, Bobby Wellins, Lee Konitz and Tony Coe, with whom he recorded the 1981 Nato French set, Tournée. Cornford’s great talent, sadly cut off while still very much at its height, lay not only in his discreet skills as a pianist but in his remarkable ability as a composer. His longer works, like the tributes to Evans and Webster, ‘In Memoriam’ and ‘Coalescence’ respectively, show him to have been a writer with considerable and highly original skill.