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William Neil

Westby, WI   

The music of William Neil has been performed on both sides of the Atlantic. 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.   In the 1980’s Neil was appointed as the first composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the first residency of its kind with a major American opera company.  He then went on to produce award winning concerts and events at the New Music Chicago Spring Festival for several years. In September of 2012 he was in residence at the D.H. Lawrence Gargnano Centenary Symphosium in Gargnano, Italy, performing his song cycle The Waters Are Shaking the Moon and a commissioned work, Where There is No Autumn. Most recently, he served as sound designer for the InTandem Theatre Company production of Beast on the Moon in Milwaukee, WI. The Rome Prize and the Charles Ives Award are among his honors.  His work has been recognized through grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the American Symphony Orchestra League and awards from ASCAP and BMI.  He was awarded a 2008 McKnight Visiting Composer grant from the American Composers Forum for the city of Winona, MN.


Neil performs regularly as a pianist with the duo Project FourthStream. The brainchild of composer William Neil and saxophonist Tom Gullion, Project Fourth Stream is the logical extension to the synthesis of composed and improvised music. In the recent past, significant strides have been made fusing classical compositional techniques with jazz. Their intention, however, is to approach this music from the perspective where the composition services to enhance the improvisation. Recent developments have included use of digital acoustic equipment and interactive video projections. They are creating, in poetic terms, an acoustical environment that will expand their musical boundaries into the realm of interactive Musique Concrete.