Steve Reich, Music for Eighteen Musicains

One of my main interests as a musican is discovering new music, I loved listening to 20th Century Composers. This stems from my college days and more recently at University. I found this piece on You Tube from  Steve Reich. This piece somes up his compositional style as a composer and love listening to some of his work. He is one of the pionners of minimalistic music.


What am I up to ? – Summer 2015

I thought I’d give you an update of what has happened to me during the past few months and what is going to happen in the next few months. During the past few months music wise it has been quite, in a way that has been a blessing in disguise. As it has given me a chance to re-charge my batteries. I am pleased to announce that I will be doing a lot more live work. I have been playing with a function band called Soulvation for the past few years as a session musician. I am pleased to announce that I will be working with them on a full time basis. I start gigging with them in August 2015. Watch out for dates on my website. As I have said many time before I love playing to a live audience. I can’t wait to be out there again playing.

Yes I know it’s still only Summer, but Panto is just around the corner. I do know what we are doing but I have have to keep quite until the official announcement has been made this month. Watch this space for more info.

I am going to get some more rehearsal in before I hit the road in August. I hope you all have a great summer and will post in a few months.

Speak soon


What does Contemporary Music mean to you ?

When I was studying for my GCSE Music as a young naïve 13 year old. My music teacher asked me to do some re search into “what do think 20th Century Music is ?” 

Obviously at the time I hadn’t a clue and came back with the following answer.

“20th century music is music produced in the modern era, with genres of all types. Ranging from Opera to Popular music”

Well I was partly right but at the time I didn’t know what he was getting at. This is where my introduction to the world of 20th century music began. 

Sadly at GCSE level it doesn’t go into enough depth, as we only get a broad spectrum of all types of music. I don’t think at this age young adults cannot get to grips with this type of music. We need to engage young people more on the creative process of composing this type of music. I know composers are trying to do this at the moment. 

It would also help broaden composers compositional skills. 

What are your thoughts ?

2015 so far…..

I have not written on my site for a while, so thought it only fair to give you an update what I have been up too.

Just before the New Year I was busy doing Panto with PADOS and did a few gigs with Soulvation and Junction 31. It was great to be playing live. Nothing beats playing in a live situation.

This year I was lucky enough to attend the NODA Noth West Region Awards Night at the Palace Hotel in Manchester. Both off the societies where I was Musical Director was nominated for Best Panto! PADOS for “Crock of Gold” and Urmston Musical Theatre for “Snow White” I was very proud of both societies, sadly we never won anything. But it’s the taking part that counts.

I will be working with both these societies again this year. Urmston in October for “A Night At The Musicals 2” then PADOS in December for Panto. Watch this space for details.

In March I will be playing for The Operetta Company again as Keyboard Player. I love playing for these shows and get too experience the wonderful melodies of yesteryear. I also get to play with the talented Orchestra that we have. The sound we produce gets better and better each year. We are doing “Summer Song” If you can get down we would love to see you. (4th to 7th March)

I start rehearsals for the Urmston show in March, so I am going to be very busy.

I was hoping to do more gigging with a few function bands this year, but sadly this has not worked out. If any one requires a hard working keyboard player. Give me a shout!

Speak to you all soon!


What’s happened to live music in Performance ?

Ever since a child music has been an important part of my life, and still is. When growing up live music was such an important aspect of my life. I come from a family of music performers. I guess my playing genes are from my grandfather. He was a pianist like my self. Not a great performer but knew how to bash out a tune.
Whilst at school we always had visiting conpanys who would perform plays and live music. We would also visit Orchestras. I was in awe of their talent. I even had the opportunity to perform on the Free Trade Hall stage when I was fifteen. So many great artist had played on that stage. I watched a number of concerts by the Halle Orchestra. It was great to hear live music.
Sadly over the years the the internet has taken over the music industry. Any piece of music can be downloaded from the net, with the click of a button.
This may have led to a decline in people going to watch a live performance.
This has led to some performance spaces such as theatres and similar venues not using live music. They would rather use backing tracks or pre- recorded music,this creates less work for live musicians. The sad thing is that people would rather hear a live band or orchestra.
There has been a recent campaign with the Musicians Union to help keep music live and musicains being paid fairly.
What has your experiences as a musician been like ?
Do you agree or disagree with this article, I’d love to hear your views or comments.
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Opera “The Nose”

I love the way Music, Sound and Image have been brought together for Shostakovitch’s first opera “The Nose”

Computer Generated Music

nosThe Nose is Shostakovich’s first opera, a satirical work completed in 1928 based on Nikolai Gogol’s story (1836).

The opera was written between 1927 and 1928. The libretto is by Shostakovich, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Georgy Ionin, and Alexander Preis. Shostakovich stated it was a satire on the times of Alexander I.The plot concerns a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own.

Gogol’s original work was expanded by borrowing from some of his other works, including “The Overcoat”, “Marriage”, …

Shostakovich uses a montage of different styles, including folk music, popular song and atonality. The apparent chaos is given structure by formal musical devices such as canons and quartets, a device taken from Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and pianist and a prominent figure of 20th-century music.

Shostakovich achieved fame in…

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Welcome to 2014!


Welcome to 2014! I know it’s a little bit  late but I hope you’ve had a good start to the year. My aim this year is to try and update this blog a bit more often. So what’s in store for me this year ? Well I will be writing a Portfolio of pieces to be finished in May 2014. I will publish my work on my Soundcloud page for you to listen to. I will be doing more gigs with the band, I’ll keep you posted of when these are. I will working on numerous productions as well, so keep a look out for those.

Speak soon Neil