Conductor of WPO: Neil Aston
Neil Aston studied conducting at Lancaster University, before undertaking a postgraduate diploma at Birmingham Conservatoire. Other training included the Canford and Dartington Summer Schools, the English Symphony Youth Orchestra as assistant to William Boughton, the Amadeus Orchestra with Odaline de la Martinez and the Dublin Masterclasses with Gerhard Markson. Further private study has included lessons and consultations with Sakari Oramo, Paavo Jarvi, Bramwell Tovey, Edwin Roxburgh and Edward Warren.
Since graduation he has regularly conducted orchestras, ensembles and choirs throughout the Midlands, including the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Charnwood Orchestra, Queens Park Sinfonia and the Redditch Orchestra. He is conductor of the Worcester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berridge Singers.
As Orchestral Manager at Birmingham Conservatoire from 1995-2001 Neil was assistant conductor to Andrew Mogrelia and Guy Woolfenden, conducting all the college ensembles, regularly taking rehearsals and sectionals.
In 1997 Neil conducted the British premier of the Aratiunian Tuba Concerto, with soloist Roger Bobo, at the National Tuba and Euphonium Conference at the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham. In the autumn of 1999 he made his operatic debut, conducting La Boheme with Opera Mint, and in July 2002 conducted at the Festival of Piano Duos at the Conservatoire di Musica Nicolai Paganini in Genoa, Italy.
Neil has a wide range of musical interests. He has a keen interest in contemporary music recently conducting Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with players from the Birmingham Contemporary Music group and regularly conducting the Birmingham Composers’ Ensemble. He enjoys working with students and young people and has conducted the Warwickshire Youth Orchestra in a concert at the Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre with Richard Baker.
As well as orchestras he has conducted a number of top brass and wind bands. He was semi-finalist in a recent European Brass Band Young Conductors’ Competition.
Neil is also an accomplished clarinettist, regularly working with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and performing as a member of the highly successful quintet Serenata Winds.