Neil Thomson


Neil Thomson


Neil Thomson, was born in London in 1966, studied violin and viola at the Royal Academy of Music (1984-87) and conducting with Norman Del Mar at the Royal College of Music (1987-89). He was a member of the conducting class at Tanglewood Summer School in 1989 where his teachers included Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Sanderling and Leonard Bernstein.

In the UK he has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Hallé, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera.

Since March 2014 he has been the Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra in Brazil. The orchestra quickly developed a reputation for its dynamic performances, its broad repertoire (with special emphasis on Brazilian and contemporary music). In December 2018 the orchestra performed the South American premiere of Messiaen's monumental "Des Canyons aux Étoiles". This was a highlight in the development of the orchestra and an extremely important moment in the history of Brazilian orchestral music. The Goiás Philharmonic was awarded the Order of Rio Branco (the Brazilian equivalent of the Légion d'Honneur) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in recognition of its enormous contribution to Brazilian music.

Recordings include some discs the Royal Liverpoll Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra. He is currently engaged on a project to record all 14 symphonies of Claudio Santoro as well as music by José Siqueira, Edino Krieger and César Guerra-Peixe with the OFG. Almeida Prado and Francisco Mignone with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Santoro with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Romantic Brazilian music for chamber orchestra with the English Chamber Orchestra, all for the Naxos series ‘Brazil in Concert’. He also recorded Nigel Clarke’s ‘The Prophecies of Merlin’ with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra for Naxos. His recordings for Naxos Records received widespread critical acclaim.

Orchestras conducted in recent years include the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Klassische Philharmonie Bonn, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Century Orchestra Osaka, Kansai Philharmonic, Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Sinfonia, Romanian National Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, Orchestra of Gothenburg Opera, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Sanremo Symphony Orchestra, Sicilian Symphony Orchestra, Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Bari and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

He has performed with many distinguished soloists including, Nobuyuki Tsujii, Sir James Galway, Dame Moura Lympany, Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Felicity Lott, Philip Langridge, Antonio Meneses, Sarah Chang, Steven Isserlis, Julian Lloyd Webber, Nelson Freire, David Geringas, Natalie Clein, Gyorgy Pauk, Brett Dean, Jean-Philippe Collard, Stephen Hough, Peter Jablonski, Jean-Louis Steuerman, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

In addition to his symphonic work Thomson also works on film projects. In 2013, he premiered the reconstructed score of “Singin' in the Rain” at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Other live-movie performances include “Psycho,” “Vertigo,” “Casablanca,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Fantasia,” “Amadeus” and “Titanic.” He recently conducted the show “Gene Kelly: A Life in Music” with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, a project developed by Gene Kelly’s widow to preserve the artist's musical heritage.

From 1992 until 2006 he served as Head of Conducting at the Royal College of Music. The youngest-ever incumbent of this post (first held by Sir Adrian Boult in 1919 and later by Norman Del Mar), he was made an Honorary Member of the RCM in 1994 for his services to the institution and has established an admirable reputation as an orchestral trainer.

His skills as a natural communicator have enhanced an already growing reputation as a teacher throughout Europe. He has been a Guest Professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Krakow Academy of Music, the Conservatoire "Arrigo Boito" in Parma, the Lithuanian Academy of Music, the Campos do Jordão Festival and the London Conducting Workshop. In 2002 he was invited by Lorin Maazel to be on the jury for the European rounds of the Maazel Conducting Competition and in 2007 was on the jury, alongside Gunther Schuller, of the Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico City. Thomson is now Professor at the Los Angeles Conducting Workshop and the Dresden Dirigierakademie.