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William Neil

CountryUnited States of America
Date of birth12 January 1954
CategoriesContemporary, Electronic, Jazz, Soundtrack/Film Music

The music of William Neil has been performed on both sides of the Atlantic and has been featured at the Festival of Music in Evian, France, the Electronic Plus Festival in New York, the Pontino Festival in Italy, and the New Music Chicago Festival. His compositions present the listener with an intense brilliant effect (FANFARE MAGAZINE) and represents contemporary writing at its most intellectual probing (CHICAGO TRIBUNE). His extremely characteristic harmonic world (CLASSICAL CD REVIEW) is fundamental to the unfolding of his music. He has written works for celebrated musicians including his Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet for John Bruce Yeh and Chicago Pro Music, recorded on the Newport Classic label, Fantasia, and Concerto for Guitar for guitarist Michael Lorimer, published by Melbay, Violin Rhapsody for violinist Sharon Polifrone recorded on Albany Records, and his songs set to poems by D.H.Lawrence, The Waters Are Shaking the Moon, for soprano Barbara Ann Martin, premiered on WFMT radio in June of 1996. In 1984 he was appointed the first composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His first opera, The Guilt of Lillian Sloan, was premiered in 1986. His orchestral works have been performed by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Opus One Chamber Orchestra, Concertante di Chicago and the Czech National Symphony. His recent commissions include Scherzo at the Speed of Light for Northern Kentucky University, Project Phoenix f or Chicago Pro Musica and Super String Quartet for the Arts Association of Denmark. Duo Sureno commissioned a setting of the Mark Strand poem Seven Poems for guitar and soprano premiered at the NPR affiliate stations in Honolulu in 2005. In April of 2008 he performed At the Edge of the Body's Night for piano and digital acoustics on WFMT radio in Chicago featuring the poetry of Mark Strand. Most recently Neil has served as the 2008 McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum for the city of Winona, MN. Recent commissions and recordings include Oratoria for chorus and soloists composed for the St. Mary’s University Chamber Choir, Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden composed for Birds and Phoenix. Recent performances include Sleep for tenor, piano and digital acoustics performed at the Sound scape 2009 Festival at the Vittadini School of Music in Pavia, Italy. Recordings of his music will be release in 2010 including At the Edge of the Body's Night on the Liscio label and This Music featuring the debut of his collaboration with saxophonist Tom Gullion with Project Fourth Stream on the Momentous label, He earned the Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music & Case Western Reserve University where he studied with composer Donald Erb. He pursued advanced musical studies with Karl Heinz Stockhausen and Jochim Blume at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik, Koln, Germany and holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Composition from the University of Michigan School of Music studying composition with Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Eugene Kurtz and the late William Albright. His creativity has been recognized by awards from the McKnight Foundation (2008), the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1982), a BMI composition award (1981), an ASCAP award (1981), a Fulbright Fellowship (1978-1979), commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978, 1984), an Illinois Arts Grant (1988), and the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1983). Neil's studio is located on a 30 acre homestead in southwestern Wisconsin that he manages with his wife, raising sheep, tapping maple trees and cultivating a large garden that surrounds their solar powered home.

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