William Neil

William Neil (b. 1954)

Biography
William Neil 's music has been performed on both sides of the Atlantic and has been featured at the 1981 Festival of Music in Evian, France, the Electronic Plus Festival in New York, the 1983 Pontino Festival in Italy, and the 1988 New Music Chicago Festival. His creativity has been recognized by awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a BMI composition award, an ASCAP award, a Fulbright Fellowship, Germany 1978-1979, commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts 1980, an Illinois Arts Grant 1989, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, where he lived and worked from 1982 to 1984.
Neil joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1984 as its first Composer-in-Residence. His opera, The Guilt of Lillian Sloan was premiered by the Lyric's Center for American Artists in June of 1986. Following his residency with the Lyric Opera, he co-directed the New Music Chicago Spring Festival. He was instrumental in developing Music at High Noon, a live broadcast concert featuring the premiere of four commissioned works in four Chicago architectural landmarks sites over the airwaves of WFMT radio. The broadcast won a 1988 Armstrong Award and a New York Radio Festival Silver Medal. Neil held an American Symphony Orchestra League Management Fellowship in 1989, undertaking internships with the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids Symphonies. 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, 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. His orchestral works have been performed by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and the Opus One Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, his Rhapsody for Violin, commissioned by the Katherine A. Abelson Fund of the Lester S. Abelson Foundation, was premiered by violinist Sharon Polifrone with Concertante Di Chicago in March of 1999. Leader Fine Arts Critic, Joseph Cunniff, said "Rhapsody . . . proved a bright, attractive work with an open sound and a long noble line." The work had its European premiere under the baton of Paul Freeman and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra with Sharon Polifron as soloist. Their interpretation will be released on Albany Records in the fall of 2000.
Most recently, The Arts Association, Tvind, Denmark commissioned Figures on a Hill for soprano, clarinet and piano with a text by the award winning poet, Diana Syder from the United Kingdom. The work was premiered on January 15th at a special millennium celebration with over 2,000 in attendance. Currently, Neil's work On High Ground is slated to be premiered on April 1st as part of a joint project with the American Academy in Rome Society of Fellows, Merit Music Program and WFMT radio in Chicago.
William Neil holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Music, and has pursued advanced musical studies at the Hochschule fur Musik, Köln, Germany. His principal composition teachers have been Donald Erb and Leslie Bassett. Currently, Neil divides his time between composing, managing a financial planning practice, and raising his family following a natural life style. Neil desires both the formal and the spontaneous musical gesture. His music focuses on lyricism but the juxtaposition of sounds is fundamental to the unfolding of his music.

Contact William Neil at this email address: wneil@thecomposerstudio.com