Jack McNeill is a clarinettist based in Sheffield and working throughout the UK and Europe. A Britten-Pears Young Artist between 2011 and 2016, he performs as a soloist and alongside the Gildas Quartet. He is also a member of the newly formed Loki Ensemble, Drawlight quartet and Ed Bennett’s DECIBEL. Jack is an Open Space Artist in Residence at Aldeburgh Music 2016-18 with his project Propellor. His work as a freelance player includes the London Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 360, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Opera North, BBC Singers and the Hilliard Ensemble, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Britten Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Swan, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, The Harborough Collective, Bath Philharmonia, Chroma, Incus Ensemble, FEWS Ensemble, RSC, Joe Acheson's Hidden Orchestra, Gecko Theatre and as an on-stage musician/actor with Sebastian Mathias's Danserye and Thom Luz's When I Die.
A keen improviser and with a passion for all musical styles, he has a particular interest in contemporary music having given well-received complete performances of Henze's Le Miracle de la Rose and Stockhausen’s Harlekin; a substantial work performed from memory where the performer is required to dance and mime while playing! He was the bass clarinet soloist for a BBC broadcast of David Lang’s The Passing Measures at Frontiers Festival 2014, and also recorded for Gecko Theatre and their acclaimed live BBC4 production, The Time of Your Life. Jack performed Der Kleine Harlekin and In Freundschaft in the 2012 opening concert of the Stockhausen Festival of Light which culminated in Birmingham Opera Company's world premiere of Mittwoch. He has appeared at several major festivals and venues including the BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Purcell Room, Leamington, Aldeburgh and Cheltenham festivals, Moving on Music and INTEGRA Festival in Copenhagen. He has given world premieres of works by Michael Finnissy, Michael Wolters and Howard Skempton.
He completed the flagship AdvPgDip course at Birmingham Conservatoire studying with Michael Harris, Tim Lines, Jo Patton and Mark O'Brien gaining a distinction and was awarded the 2012 Conservatoire Principal’s Prize. He has been awarded scholarships by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Musician's Benevolent Fund and the Birmingham Conservatoire. Winner of the Ludlow Concerto and Leamington Music prizes, Jack has also been awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians' Silver Medal.
A passionate educator, Jack teaches clarinet and gives regular workshops and coaching at the University of Birmingham as well as mentoring on leading education projects with Aldeburgh Young Musicians and the Britten Sinfonia Academy. In 2016 Jack was commissioned by the Young Composers Project and PRS Foundation to write an ensemble work, Uncast Verses, for the project at Frontiers Festival. Jack is director for the chamber music strand of Aldeburgh Young Musicians season 2017/18.
"An absolute master of dynamics, moving effortlessly from triple piano to fortissimo in a split second – or carefully displaying the unique mellifluousness of the clarinet in a spine-tingling crescendo, whether over a single note or a liquid cascade of semi-quavers. Jack must be one of the finest musicians Cumbria has produced."
The Cumberland News on a recital with David Quigley
"Soloist Jack McNeill's amazing gift for the most arresting pianissimo playing."
The Birmingham Post on a performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto
"The splendid soloist was Jack McNeill who seized the challenge with vim and vigour and imaginative musicality...a magical fusion throughout."
The Birmingham Post on a performance of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto
Performing Der Kleine Harlekin, photo by Graeme Braidwood (www.graemebraidwood.com)