Principal Percussionist with the London Symphony Orchestra and Head of Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music. Neil studied percussion and piano at Chetham’s School of Music and jazz and composition at Eastman School of Music, and before continuing his studies at the Royal College, won the Bronze Medal in the first LSO-Shell Scholarship for Timpani and Percussion.
As a player he has worked closely with many major artists and conductors including Pierre Boulez, Andre Previn and Michael Tilson Thomas, and as a soloist with Sir Colin Davis, Steve Reich, Karl Jenkins, Ravi Shankar, Kent Nagano and Elgar Howarth. His recording of Karl Jenkins Marimba Concerto and Triple Concerto for Percussion, Flutes and Keyboards is due for release soon on EMI.
In both live and studio situations, Neil has worked closely with many composers for film scores, notably John Williams, James Horner and Patrick Doyle, most recently working on Star Wars, Harry Potter and Eragon, and with major pop and jazz artists including Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Natalie Cole, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Luther Vandross and Vince Mendoza.
Neil also recently collaborated with Tim Garland in a star studded nine-piece group ‘Momentum’, including amongst others John Patitucci, Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer in a CMN UK tour.
Neil co-leads the group ‘Caixa’ with Paul Edmund-Davies, which plays a blend of world/jazz/latin-flavoured music. Their album ‘Ball and Biscuit’ received wide critical acclaim.
As a clinician and educator he has given master classes in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia and has coached many of the worlds leading youth orchestras’ including the Pacific Festival Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, and National Musicians Symphony Orchestra.
What Yamaha instrument do you play ?
Let's go with the 'Rosewood Snare Drum' I've been developing with Yamaha. (14''x 5").
Also I've shot two demo DVD's for Yamaha drums and timpani that should be ready anytime now.
Why do you prefer Yamaha instruments above other manufacturers?
The legendary quality associated with Yamaha instruments, and the fact I have so many musical heroes who play Yamaha.