MSI Premiere Composer, Thomas Neal (United Kingdom)
Thomas is an organist, pianist, composer and conductor. He is organ student at St Peter’s Church and has received a number of choral, piano, and composition awards.
His main musical interests are in sacred choral & organ music and historical musicology, particularly involving the great French Romantic church composers. He also has a great love of Plainsong, which has greatly influenced his more recent compositions; and particularly enjoys the music of Duruflé, Dupré, Buxtehude, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Howells, and Arvo Pärt.
Although composing is not his principle interest, Thomas has written a substantial amount of choral compositions which have been performed in Teeside, London, Chartres, Paris, Germany, Canada, and Ohio; plus a recording on the Priory record label (www.priory.org.uk). Thomas maintains a rigorous and demanding performance schedule with both choirs and orchestras as a composer, conductor, chorister, or accompanist; and also occasional solo and chamber work (with a special focus on French repertoire). In 2008, he solo work includes Saint-Säens' third Symphony ("The Organ") and a student organ recital at the IAO Congress in Cambridge. In particular, he has a lot of experience singing early English and Italian renaissance choral pieces. He is listed on British Choirs on the Net (www.choirs.org.uk) and in Dr Henderson's Directory of organ composers (www.rscm.u-net.com).
Since 2001 he has toured with his church and youth choirs to France, Germany, UK, Holland, Belguim, Spain, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic - performing in some of Europe's finest churches and cathedrals including Munster (Germany), Metz, Amiens, Lille, Chartres, Beauvais, Barcelona, Prague, and the Mariekirche in Lubeck (where Dietrich Buxtehude was organist). He is a member of St Peter's Church Choir (www.stpetersstockton.org.uk - one of the founder members of the Royal School of Church Music), Egglescliffe Orchestra and Chamber Choir, Tees Valley Youth Choir (www.teesvalleyyouthchoir.co.uk), Cleveland Philharmonic Choir (www.cleveland-philharmonic-choir.org.uk) and Vox. He is also a member of the Newcastle & District Society of Organists, for whom he writes a monthly column in their magazine, The Mixture. Thomas is also a member of The Friends of Cathedral Music (www.fcm.org.uk) and the Royal College of Organists (www.rco.org.uk).
Thomas is very grateful to the Brereton Memorial Fund (www.breretonfund.org.uk) for their continued support.