B i o g r a p h y
Neil Olmstead is a pianist, composer, author and educator with expertise in jazz and classical genres.
As jazz pianist Neil held a ten-year piano residency at the Copley Plaza Hotel’s Plaza Bar in Boston, sharing the stage with Teddy Wilson, Adam Makovicz, and Dave McKenna, Sammy Price, among others. Neil has performed with The Jimmy Giuffre Quartet, The Moody Blues, Brad Terry and has appeared on NPR’s Eric in the Evening, WGBH-Radio. Neil directs regular concerts of his music in solo duo, and ensemble settings. Performances abroad include the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy and as lecturer/performer at University of Padua, Italy and the Conservatorio Statale di Musica Luisa D’Annunzio in Pescara, Italy.
Compositions include film scores and works for solo piano, prepared piano, voice and piano, small jazz ensemble, big band, and full orchestra. Neil’s orchestral works have been recorded by The Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bratislava Radio and Television Orchestra. His piano and guitar jazz duo recording Colaboração was released in 2012. A recent album Secrets of Ferns is a 5-movement song-cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano.
Neil is author of Solo Jazz Piano, The Linear Approach, sold worldwide and containing original jazz compositions set within a theoretical context.
A mainstay of Neil’s professional career has been his 40-year tenure as Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he has taught private piano, ensemble, composition and solfége.
Neil’s professional degrees include Master of Music from New England Conservatory, a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music and undergraduate studies at Boston Conservatory of Music. Neil studied music composition under Dr. Hugo Norden at Boston University, William Thomas McKinley, George Russell, and Nadia Boulanger at Ecole d’Art Americaines, Palais de Fontainebleau, France.
Born in Paris, France, Neil grew up in rural western Massachusetts and now resides in Wayland, outside Boston. In addition to being a husband, father and grandfather he enjoys skiing, sailing and practicing tai chi.