Jack McNeill

Composer, clarinettist and maker

Clarinettist, composer and maker Jack McNeill is a musician exploring the intersections of different traditions and sound worlds. Director of the 12-piece cross-genre Propellor, who create audio-visual performances mapping our collective experience of the natural world. He makes work that sits somewhere between live music, theatre and radio.

Jack has premiered solo and chamber works by Philip Glass, Richard Ayres, Karin Rehnqvist, Michael Finnissy, Joe Cutler, Ed Bennett and Howard Skempton amongst others. He performs with the Gildas Quartet and the Tempest Quartet (David Le Page, Clare O’Connell and Viv McLean). His work as a freelance musician includes being an on-stage musician/actor with Sebastian Mathias and Michael Wolters's Danserye, and Thom Luz's When I Die, performing and improvising for the Royal Shakespeare Company, recording for Gecko Theatre and Trish Clowes’s Emulsion Sinfonietta, orchestral and chamber work with the LSO, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Sacconi Quartet, Ensemble 360, Britten Sinfonia, CBSO, BBC Singers, the Hilliard Ensemble and BCMG. He is a member of Decibel, the Le Page Ensemble, Loki and Joe Acheson’s Hidden Orchestra.

Passionate about music education, Jack is a tutor and coach at University of Birmingham, directed the chamber music strand of Aldeburgh Young Musicians for two years and is part of the team bringing Future Creatives, a new talent development programme to Brewery Arts, Kendal, Cumbria.

An improviser and passionate contemporary musician, Jack has given complete performances of Henze's Le Miracle de la Rose and Stockhausen’s Harlekin; a substantial work performed from memory where the clarinettist is required to dance and mime while playing! Jack was bass clarinet soloist for a BBC broadcast of David Lang’s The Passing Measures. He also performed Der Kleine Harlekin and In Freundschaft in the opening concert of the Stockhausen Festival of Light. Current cross-genre projects include Flight - Propellor’s exploration of soundscape ecology, music and birds in collaboration with writer Mark Cocker and musician Leafcutter John, the creation of a new chamber collective and body of music for Cumbria, and a touring solo project in 2023.

Jack has been supported by the Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, PRS Open Fund, Transmission Fund (Help Musicians UK), Sound and Music (Seed Award), IVORS, Brighter Sound, Countess of Munster and been awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal. He has been commissioned by Aerial Festival and is the composer for Mahogany Opera’s latest Snappy Opera, Roll Up! His music often combines contemporary clarinet soundscapes with live processing, real-world sound and spoken word. Jack is the clarinettist for Tao of Glass at Manchester International Festival 2019, a world premiere from composer Philip Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott (Improbable) which will continue touring in 2023. He is an associate artist of, and was musician in residence at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal 2021-22 and is one of the creators of Kendal’s new music project, Thwaite Sessions.

Jack Mc Neill photo credit Ian West at Sage Gateshead Head Shot Edit
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