Neil Cowley - Music Promise Wizard

Neil Cowley is the City of Culture 2013 ‘Musician in Residence’, in collaboration with PRS for Music Foundation and the Nerve Centre. Throughout 2013, Nerve Centre has been hosting a residency, which is enabling this exciting and imaginative musician from outside of Northern Ireland to write new music with local performers, communities and especially young people from the city as they realise their Music Promise.

Neil, played on Adele’s chart-topping album 21 and was quite literally 2011’s most listened to pianist on the planet - this year he is known as The Music Promise wizard amongst young people in schools,choirs,communities and most recently with our most exceptionally talented Music Promisees.

Commissioned to write a new piece of music which reflects his experiences of Derry-Londonderry in this Culture year, Neil gets out on the ground at every opportunity to the delight of all who meet him and have now collaborated with him.


Neil Cowley Weaves His Magic

Having been out in schools and in the community with the Music Promise in the Community team, Neil just cant believe the richness of talent among our young people.

When Henderson's Piano Showroom offered to host a day of workshops with Neil and young pianists of all abilities then the magic really started to flow. Neil sat with each player in turn, he asked them to just play something simple with their right hand and he composed with them right there and then.A sight to behold!


Neil also loves a new Music Promise choir from Drumahoe who came to sing with him  - he now knows their favourite song 'Don't Stop Believing.'They appeared with him as special guests on Music City day on the 21st of June in St. Augustines Church on the historic city walls.

Most recently, the Music Promise team asked Neil to run an improvisation workshop with young people from our Exceptionally Talented programme.Encircled by violinists,drummers,rock guitarists,saxophonists,flute and oboe players and a bank of singers, he created something magical with them in only an hour and they loved it.

As part of the Radio 3 'The Essay' series which featured Derry writers and artists throughout one week, Neil spoke humourously and poignantly about his love for this city, it's musicians and it's incredible young talent.

He will appear on our screens in November 2013 as a mentor in the Alleycats TV series 'Music Promise' for BBCNI and CBBC and performs his original composition written for the town he now loves so well on the 7th of December in The Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry.