William Neil's Bio

William Neil is organist of The National Presbyterian Church, and organist and harpsichordist of the National Symphony Orchestra and National Philharmonic. From 1998 to 2000 he was organist of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago. He has been a soloist with the National Symphony under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alessandro Siciliani, Christopher Hogwood, Iona Brown, and Lorin Maazel.

Mr. Neil’s extensive discography includes recordings on the Philips, Sony, Naxos, and MSR Classics labels. Mr. Neil is also active as a harpsichordist and continuo player with period and modern instrumental ensembles, performing music of the 18th to 21st centuries. He has performed with the Choral Arts Society of Washington at the Kennedy Center and Strathmore Center, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Washington Chorus, the City Choir of Washington, and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, with conductors Norman Scribner, Tom Hall, Julian Wachner, Robert Shafer, Thomas Wickman, Gerard Schwarz, Margaret Hillis, Helmut Rilling, and Robert Shaw.

Mr. Neil’s concerts with the New York Trumpet Ensemble, Chicago’s Millar Brass, and Washington Symphonic Brass, appearances at national and international brass festivals, and recordings and performances with trumpeters David Bilger, Steven Hendrickson, Don Smithers, and Pierre Thibaud have earned him the reputation among brass musicians as “the trumpeters’ organist.” Mr. Neil was the first Washington organist to perform on the Charles Fisk Organ at Meyerson Hall in Dallas. In 2006 he joined members of the Philadelphia Orchestra as featured soloist in a dedication concert of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. In 2001 he was featured soloist in the inaugural concerts of the Casavant Organ at Robert Jacoby Hall with the Jacksonville Symphony.

Mr. Neil’s recent MSR Classics CD, A Festive Proclamation, featuring premieres by Samuel Adler and Eric Ewazen, was chosen by Gramophone magazine as one of the 10 best classical recordings of 2005. Mr. Neil is a graduate of Penn State University and Syracuse University. His teachers have included Leonard Raver, Arthur Poister, Will Headlee, and Anthony Newman. Mr. Neil has been a member of the faculties at George Mason University and the Catholic University of America. Many of his former students now hold prominent positions in the U.S. and around the world.

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