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Professor Neal Farwell

Professor Neal Farwell

Professor Neal Farwell
BA (Cantab.), MMus, PhD, MA (Cantab)

Professor of Composition

Victoria Rooms,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1SA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 6079
+44 (0) 117 3314061


Neal Farwell composes music for instruments and voices, for the “acousmatic” fixed medium, and for the meeting points of human players and live electronics. His work is commissioned by notable performers and performed internationally. Current projects include a co-commission by Trio Sonore and the Brigstow Institute of the University of Bristol, Gravity's Horizon for flute, cello, piano and live electronics; a two-part work for choir and for ensemble, which meet through electronic intervention; and a large-scale work for multi-channel fixed media. Recent key works include Solaire (2016) for Ensemble Variances, Paris; Rain From Other Seasons (2014), for Trio Aporia (baroque trio and electronics); Photographs of Water (2013), a composition for multi-channel fixed media; and Songs and Shards (2012) for piano and electronics. Neal's research is particularly concerned with discovering a compositional practice to meld the sonic richness of electroacoustic music with the multiple resonances of our older musical heritage, and he explores these questions both through the creative language and through innovating means of technological support. As director of the Bristol University Loudspeaker Orchestra, Neal curates the concert series Sonic Voyages, an international forum for performance of electroacoustic music.


Neal Farwell gained his PhD in composition from the University of East Anglia, studying with Simon Waters. In 1998 he moved to the USA as a Knox Fellow at Harvard University where he studied with Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky, and with David Rakowski at Brandeis University. He joined the Faculty of Longy School of of Music for the 2000-2001 session. Since January 2002, Neal has taught at the University of Bristol, where he is Professor of Composition and Director of the Composition and Recording Studios. From 2017-2019, Neal served as Head of the School of Arts, and from 2013-2015 was School Education Director.

Neal is active also as a conductor, and works regularly with the Bristol University Symphony Orchestra and the University New Music Ensemble. His repertoire includes composers as varied as Brahms and Birtwistle, Britten and Takemitsu, Stravinsky and Vaughan Williams, and he has directed many first performances of music by up-and-coming composers.



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