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William Neill


Tenor, Voice Teacher ~ Concert, Recital, Opera

WILLIAM NEILL made his professional operatic debut in Germany in 1968, and performed regularly for more than 30 years with opera companies and symphony orchestras the world over – i.e. San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Company of Greater Miami, Opera Company of Boston, Opera Society of Washington DC, Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), San Diego Opera, Scottish National Opera, Dublin Grand Opera, De Nederlandse Operastichting, L'Opéra National de Paris Palais Garnier, L'Opéra Bastille, Théatre Royal de la Monnaie Brussels, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bühnen der Stadt Essen, Oper der Stadt Bonn, L’Orchestre National de France (Paris), Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, as well as in Siena, Barcelona, Madrid, Mexico City, Caracas and Montevideo.  At the beginning of his career, Mr. Neill sang lyric roles such as Tamino, Faust, Hoffmann, Alfredo, Pinkerton and Cavaradossi – subsequently making a very successful transition into the Jugendlich Heldentenor (Dramatico Spinto Tenor) repertoire and winning accolades for his “technical mastery, compelling artistry and intense characterization” in portrayals of such demanding roles as Lohengrin, Siegmund, Florestan, Samson, Otello, Canio, Laca, Herodes, Max, Peter Grimes and Oedipus Rex.  Amongst the more than 60 major roles that Mr. Neill has to his credit, Lenny in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men was a signature role for him.  He considers himself to be immensely fortunate to have had the great opportunity of working along side many of the world’s most illustrious singers, conductors, stage directors and composers.  An extremely versatile artist who is equally comfortable in the standard German, French, Italian and English repertoire, he has performed a variety of roles in Czech, Russian and Polish as well – and his extensive repertoire has ranged widely and adventurously throughout his career, spanning a broad spectrum of musical styles, including not only L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria by Monteverdi but also a significant number of contemporary works, many of which were either American or world premieres.  As an accomplished concert and oratorio soloist, Mr. Neill was frequently called upon to perform Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde, Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen and Das Klagende Lied, the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Christus Am Ölberge, and Händel's Messiah, Samson and Judas Maccabeus.  He recorded for Nonesuch on the Elektra Asylum label, as well as for the American Public Broadcasting System and the Canadian Broadcasting Company.


In conjunction with his highly distinguished career as a performing artist, over the last twenty-five years, William Neill (Bill) has become a very prominent and enormously respected vocal pedagogue equally comfortable teaching all voice types (soprano, mezzo, counter-tenor, tenor, baritone, bass).  An unusually large percentage of his students are enjoying active careers and appearing on a regular basis with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and North America.  Many of them are Metropolitan Opera artists – including, among others, the American dramatic tenor Clifton Forbis and Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, who, after receiving the first Birgit Nilsson Award in the 1988 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, has gone on to become one of the world's foremost artists.  Each year, singers from Mr. Neill’s studio are selected through an arduous audition process as competition winners, grant recipients and participants in the various professional young artist training programs – i.e. Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, Houston Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, Minnesota Opera, Baltimore, Wolf Trap, Chautauqua, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera North, Lake George, Ash Lawn - Highland, Tanglewood, Orford Festival, Banff Centre, Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, L’Opéra National du Rhin Strasbourg, L’Opéra Bastille, Oper der Stadt Köln, Marilyn Horne Foundation, George London Foundation, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, Richard Tucker Foundation, Opera Index, Operalia and Orlando Opera’s Singing Actor Awards.  Mr. Neill, a native Texan, completed his B.Mus. and M.Mus. degrees at the University of Texas Austin.  During his years of training, he participated in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist program, was awarded grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation and was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, San Francisco Opera Auditions, Washington DC’s Friday Morning Music Club Competition and the Shreveport Symphony Society’s Young Artist Competition.  For fifteen years, he served as Director of Vocal Studies for the Faculty of Music at McGill University in Montreal.  Frequently called upon to adjudicate and to conduct master classes and workshops, he often collaborates with his wife of forty years, Dixie Ross-Neill, Director of Opera McGill for thirteen years and internationally recognized authority on professional young artist training programs.  Recently, the two of them were extremely honored to receive OPERA CANADA’s 2003 “Ruby” Award recognizing them for professional excellence and outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of Opera, Vocal Training and Education.  In the fall of 2005, the Neill’s will return permanently to New York City in order to focus their formidable energies and talents entirely upon their work there – not only with well established artists but also with aspiring young professionals.


© 2008 Bill's Vocal Studio

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