(1958 - )
Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and BFI National Film Theatres, throughout the UK and at film festivals and special events around the world, including Australia, New Zealand (three times), America, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and, in Italy, the Bologna, Aosta, Bergamo and Pordenone festivals where he has inaugurated the School of Music and Image to teach up-and-coming young pianists about silent film accompaniment.
Neil now has a very fruitful relationship with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which has resulted in London performances of his acclaimed orchestral score for Hitchcock’s silent Blackmail (commissioned by Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), the BBCSO / Barbican commission to score Asquith’s silent Underground, released to great acclaim theatrically and on Blu-Ray/DVD by the BFI and Chaplin's Easy Street (released on DVD/Blu-Ray). He followed these successes with two through-scored radio adaptations, The Wind in the Willows (Audio Drama Award Nominated) and A Christmas Carol for Orchestra, Choir and Actors commissioned by Radios 3 and 4, subsequently performed live by the BBCSO and BBC Singers at Barbican Concert Hall at Christmas 2016 – all of these works orchestrated and conducted by maestro Timothy Brock. His most recent score, for Fairbanks's epic 1922 adventure Robin Hood, premiered at the Barbican last year.
Recently he has toured to Edinburgh Fringe, Finland’s Midnight Sun Festival, Padua Opera House, Kilkenny comedy festival, the Middle Eastern International Film Festival, University of Indiana and throughout the UK and abroad with his hilarious and touching one-man-show The Silent Pianist Speaks. Neil is becoming well-known as a TV presenter on BBC4 with his hugely successful series' Sound of Cinema, The Music that Made the Movies (2013), Sound of Song (2015), and most recently the acclaimed Sound of Musicals (2017). He is a regular presenter on Radio 4's Film Programme, a Fellow of Aberystwyth University a Visiting Professor of both the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, was awarded the BASCA Gold Badge in 2016 and is considered one of the finest improvising piano accompanists in the world.