Neil's dramatic and provocative scores have been heard around the world. From Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, to the far reaches of South African National Geographic documentaries, he has been attached to many noteworthy projects.
Studying both piano and percussion, upon graduation from high school, Neil elected to serve his country in the United States Air Force. But rather than flying planes, Neil’s musical talents led him to be an integral part of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) Band. A joint military music organization comprised of all branches of the military from throughout the world, the group afforded Neil to travel and perform internationally.
Completion of military duty led to a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition at North Texas State University at Denton, a school highly regarded for jazz studies in performance and composition. It was here that Neil discovered his talent for writing music and was encouraged to major in music composition.
Neil received his Master of Music in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley. It was here that Neil further developed his jazz and contemporary music repertoire, which expanded to include composing, orchestrating and conducting for various sized ensembles. He began writing for corporate and commercial clients while keeping an eye on the longterm goal of writing for film and television.
During this period, Neil was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and became the first composer-in-residence for Colorado. This led to his scoring of Zebulon Pike and The Blue Mountain with Burgess Meredith, a highly acclaimed, feature length docudrama.
As Neil’s music and reputation continued to expand, he met Marty Stouffer in Aspen, and was asked to write the main theme for a new television series, "Wild America", which has subsequently become a major international wildlife series and was recently developed into a motion picture. In addition to the theme, Neil underscored many of the episodes.
The “Born to Run” episode of "Wild America" won the Gold Award at the 27th Annual International Film and Television Festival of New York. After 12 seasons on PBS, the series is currently in syndication through Paramount Television. “Wild America" was a hit on PBS nationally and in production for 12 years, and later, in syndication. The series aired on CBS, NBC and around the world. "It’s very special for me when audiences hear the theme, and immediately identify it with the show. I continue to thank Marty and Mark Stouffer for giving me my first opportunity to score for Television.”
The “Wild America” series gave me the opportunity to learn the mechanics of composing to pictures, how to pace myself on short schedules to meet production deadlines and how to listen and ‘hear’ the demands of the producer/director who was not a musician. We had a sizable music budget which allowed me a 25-piece orchestra for each episode. Today, that would almost be unheard of on a PBS series. As a result, I was able to develop more of my orchestration knowledge, as well as perfect my conducting to picture.”
The success of "Wild America" became the catalyst for Neil to move to Los Angeles to continue his pursuit of writing for film and television. Arriving in Los Angeles, Neil was introduced to Rocky Moriana, then director of Aaron Spelling’s Music Department. He was invited to attend scoring sessions for many of Spelling’s popular television productions, and was invited to write for several of the shows, including The Colbys and Hotel. Moving further into the scoring arena, Neil orchestrated for Paramount Television’s “MacGyver” and composed for "(The New) Mission: Impossible". Returning to Spelling Entertainment, he was attached to the very successful "Beverly Hills 90210", "Hearts Are Wild", "Melrose Place" and "Burke’s Law".
While writing for television, Neil continued to pursue film scoring, which led to his composing the score for "The Cat Story", produced by Film Buff Productions/MGM-UA Filmland, and directed by Andy Tennant. He then went on to "The Laureate", winner of the Golden Eagle Award at the Houston International Film and Video Festival. The following year, Neil scored "Pictures from the Floating World", a UCLA film project. Later, Palatine Cinema signed Neil to score "Un Incontro / An Encounter".
A highlight of Neil’s scoring career was his attachment to the highly regarded, Emmy Award-winning "Survivors of the Skeleton Coast" for National Geographic Television. The special has led to his music being a part of the internationally syndicated series, "Skeleton Coast Safari", a tremendous success in its first season. The soundtrack was released on the Cantiga Music label.
Further recognizing Neil’s work, Kronos Records is releasing the long awaited soundtrack from the television series "Wild America" in a limited edition. Neil’s music played an integral role in the success of the series, which has been enjoyed by millions over the years, and has been performed by orchestras nationwide. Kronos Records has also released Neil’s orchestral soundtrack from the motion picture P.J. in Nov 2014, yet another highly acclaimed film score.
Neil's scores have involved full studio orchestras, as well as electronic synthesized music. While he prefers the magnificent sound of an acoustic ensemble, he has also developed hybrid scores using both acoustic and electronic elements. Neil is now scoring feature length motion pictures to include “P.J.”, the "Legends of Nethiah", "Chasing the Green", “Chavez” among others.
In addition to his film and television career, Neil has taught orchestration and film scoring as an Associate Professor at California State University at Northridge, and has been a guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities across America. He is also a member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a member of the Media Task Force at Biola University, La Mirada, California, where he also taught music technology as applied to film and television production, theory and private instruction.
Neil and his wife are residents of Los Angeles, California.