Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra, Brazil
Neil Thomson was born in London in 1966, studied violin and viola at the Royal Academy of Music (1984-87) and conducting with Norman Del Mar at the Royal College of Music (1987-89). He was a member of the conducting class at Tanglewood Summer School in 1989 where his teachers included Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Sanderling and Leonard Bernstein. Since March 2014 he has served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Goiás, Brazil.
In the UK he has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Hallé, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster
Orchestra and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera. Recent débuts include concerts with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Minas Gerais Philarmonic Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, the Century Orchestra Osaka, the Kansai Philharmonic, the Lahti Sinfonia, the Romanian National Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, the Ulster Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Orchestra of Gothenburg Opera, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of Opera North.
He has performed with many distinguished soloists including Sir James Galway, Dame Moura Lympany, Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Felicity Lott, Philip Langridge, Sarah Chang, Antonio Meneses, Nelson Freire, Steven Isserlis, Julian Lloyd Webber, David Geringas, Natalie Clein, Ittai Shapira, Viviane Hagner, Gyorgy Pauk, Brett Dean, Jean-Philippe Collard, Stephen Hough, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Peter Jablonski, Jean-Louis Steuerman, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
Recent collaborations include a Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto with Nelson Freire, a Schumann Cello Concerto with Steven Isserlis, an opera gala with Danielle de Niese, tours in Brazil with Antonio Meneses and Jean-Louis Steuerman, Liszt Second Piano Concerto and Brahms Second Piano Concerto with Stephen Hough, the premiere of Joseph Phibb’s new Percussion Concerto with Dame Evelyn Glennie , a rare performance of the complete Incidental Music from ‘Hassan’ by Delius at the Cheltenham Festival and concerts at the Brevard Festival. He stepped in at three days’ notice to replace Louis Langrée with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducting works by Messiaen, Scriabin, Richard Strauss, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. This led to immediate re-invitations for 2017 and 2018 where he will be conducting two weeks in the subscription series in both years.
Alongside his symphonic work he has developed a speciality for conducting films with live orchestra. He gave the premiere of the newly reconstructed score for Singin' in the Rain at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2013. Other films include Psycho, Vertigo, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia, Amadeus and Titanic.
Recordings include a disc of American contemporary Violin Concerti with Ittai Shapira and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Gloria Coates Fifth Symphony, Stenhammar Symphony No.2 and two discs of orchestral music by Cesar Guerra-Peixe with the Goias Philarmonic Orchestra. He is currently engaged on a project to record all 14 symphonies of Claudio Santoro for Naxos with the Goias Philarmonic.
From 1992 until 2006 he served as Head of Conducting at the Royal College of Music. The youngest-ever incumbent of this post (first held by Sir Adrian Boult in 1919 and later by Norman Del Mar), he was made an Honorary Member of the RCM in 1994 for his services to the institution and has established an enviable reputation as an orchestral trainer.
His skills as a natural communicator have enhanced an already growing reputation as a professor throughout Europe. He has been a Guest Professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Krakow Academy of Music, the Conservatoire "Arrigo Boito" in Parma, the Lithuanian Academy of Music, the Campos do Jordao Festival and the Los Angeles Conducting Workshop. In 2002 he was invited by Lorin Maazel to be on the jury for the European rounds of the Maazel Conducting Competition and in 2007 was on the jury, alongside Gunther Schuller, of the Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico City.