Neil Cowley - City of Culture 2013 'Musician in Residence'

Neil Cowley - City of Culture 2013 'Musician in Residence'

Award-winning jazz pianist Neil Cowley was appointed City of Culture 2013 ‘Musician in Residence’, in collaboration with PRS for Music Foundation and the Nerve Centre.

Through its links with local talent, organisations and communities, the Nerve Centre pulled together a network that Neil engaged and collaborated with, to create a truly unique and inspirational programme of events.

As part of the BBC Radio 3 'The Essay' series, Neil spoke humourously and poignantly about the Nerve Centre.

'Marty [McGIll] is one of the main guys at the fabulous Nerve Centre, a music and arts centre within the famous city walls, unlike any other I've seen. When one thinks of an arts centre one tends to think of a slightly stuffy, hushed space... The Nerve Centre however is very real. Actually, an amazingly rich facility with studio space, an inbuilt venue and the most modern of musical technology available for all to use.’ 

Creative Choices 

One of Neil's first engagements saw him give an inspirational talk on his journey through music to over 80 post primary school children at a Creative Choices event at the Nerve Centre. The feedback from the young people was hugely positive. Through this, Neil discovered a 'musicial gem', 15 year-old pianist Darrell Smith from Lisneal College. With Neil’s encouragement, guidance and support, Darrell played his self-penned piece as an opener to one of the Neil Cowley Trio’s London shows in front of a packed audience.

SYNC – Music Promise in the Community

Neil worked alongside the Nerve Centre's SYNC Music Promise team to deliver workshops and training opporunities to local schools and youth community groups. In addition he hosted a number of creative and performance sessions with his Trio and involved acts such as: One Voice Youth Choir, Ibuki Taiko Drummers, Balkan Alien Sound, John Leighton and Grim.

Music City

As part of Music City in June, Neil gathered some of the city’s leading voices to create The Mount Molehill Voices, a specially assembled choir to perform with him in the city’s oldest church, St Augustine’s for a free lunchtime concert. Also, joining him was the One Voice Youth Choir and, their rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ earned them a standing ovation.  

The Eight Gate

In his final performance of his residency, Neil presented an entirely new suite of music ‘The Eighth Gate’ as a ‘small gift’ to the city in return for his inspirational journey. For this one-off performance, Neil was joined by his hit Trio and a host of local talent including, five-piece band Balkan Alien Sound, Ibuki Taiko drummers and acclaimed chamber choir Codetta, creating a unique musical collaboration. 


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