London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Academy of Music
Neil is the longest serving Principal Percussion of the London Symphony Orchestra and has been Head of Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music since 2000. He has worked closely with many major artists and conductors and as a soloist with Sir Colin Davis, Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich, François-Xavier Roth, Karl Jenkins, Ravi Shankar, Kent Nagano and Elgar Howarth. He has also worked closely with many composers for over 150 film scores including John Williams, James Horner and Alex Desplat and major pop and jazz artists including Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello and Laura Mvula. He has enjoyed the Zildjian cymbals 'artist in residence' role, is a Yamaha drums and keyboards artist and an artist for Evans Drumheads and Freer Mallets.
To be the best I can be and to keep improving. I'm lucky to get to work with amazing musicians on a daily basis, and their talent is a constant inspiration. Also working with incredible young musicians and students and their 'thirst' for knowledge is incredibly motivating to do what little I can, to help them be the best they can be.
Talent gets you so far. Hard work can take you all the way! Practice time is so precious, so always make sure you use this time as expediently as possible. Remember your 'sound' is everything. It's your way in!
My favourite 'piatti' set up at the LSO would be either 20" French or 20" K Custom Crash, 22" K Constantinople 24" K Constantinople. The 24" K's have been 'lightened' so they are the same weight as the 22"s. They all sound killin'! They all blend beautifully with the 'sound' of the LSO. That's the most important thing for me; to have beautifully crafted, high quality instruments that compliment the particular 'sound' of an orchestra or ensemble.
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