Joey O’Neill

picture horn (2)

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!

I was born and raised in the suburb of Wanstead in East London, and have lived in Glasgow since I came to study at the RCS in 2015. I work as a music instructor for North Lanarkshire council, as well as a freelance arranger. I consider my crowning achievement to be watching all 125 episodes of Parks and Recreation in 9 days.

How did you first get into music?

When I was 8, a local brass quintet visited my primary school to encourage kids to learn an instrument, and I instantly became enamoured with ‘the curly one’, starting lessons on the horn a couple of weeks later. I progressed quite quickly and joined some youth music groups, which was what solidified my love for music.

What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?

As I went through high school, I picked up other musical skills – playing percussion, arranging, composing and conducting – and I realised that if I was dedicating so much of my time already to music, I clearly enjoyed it enough to take it further and work towards a career in music.

What has been your musical highlight so far?

In 2012 I had the amazing opportunity to play with the London Symphony Orchestra’s outreach project at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, which is an experience I doubt I’ll ever be able to top.

Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?

My all-time favourite artist is the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, whom I’ve been obsessed with since the day I discovered them many years ago. Within the ‘classical’ realm, I’m really into Dai Fujikura at the moment as someone who pushes the boundaries of instrumental techniques, and is a rare composer writing really innovative new music for wind orchestra.

What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?

More than anything, I have no idea what to expect really, and that is what I’m most excited about. I look forward to completely new musical experiences with new people, and I can’t wait for concerts such as the Ben Nevis performance, and the musical yoga session on Glasgow Green, which are of course like nothing I’ve ever done before.