Neil Martinez is a Canadian pianist, organist and improviser. He has appeared as a soloist and collaborative artist praised for his thoughtful interpretations, exquisite touch, and outstanding technique.
An Honours BFA graduate of York University, Canada, Neil has extensive experience in music performance. He took up piano in childhood and quickly progressed through the RCM grades to performing advanced level repertoire in a matter of a few years with support from a musical family. Neil has studied with concert pianists Alma Petchersky, Antonin Kubalek, and Christina Petrowska Quilico. As well, he studied piano accompanying with Raisa Nakhmanovich, piano literature and pedagogy with Cecilia Ignatieff, chamber music with Dr. Kim Chow-Morris, and conducting with Alan Gasser. Neil also studied clarinet, and has performed as a clarinetist in numerous wind ensembles including the York University Wind Symphony. He brings his strong knowledge of ensemble playing and interaction with other instrumentalists and vocalists to his teaching. Currently, Neil is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Music.
Neil is an active performer and is regularly involved in performances and recordings. In addition to performing the standard classical repertoire, he is an enthusiastic supporter of New Music and Canadian composers, and has been involved in the premier performances of several Canadian compositions. Additionally, Neil is an experienced church musician, having served as a pianist, organist and music director.
As an improviser, Neil has been described numerous times as a master of that art. He continually participates in a wide variety of projects and recordings, has been invited to give workshops on improvisation, and is a member of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMT). Neil is interested in expanding the boundaries of traditional performance and the possibilities of the instrument, and often employs extended instrumental techniques. His improvisations have been praised for “clarity of texture,” “use[s] the whole piano at once in a wall of sound but all the registers of the piano are always very clear,” “enviable coherency of development in the matter of phrase and chord,” and being “highly creative and evocative.”
Neil’s performance credits are diverse ranging from recitals, chamber music, choral music, accompaniment, music theatre, multidisciplinary work, church music, and large productions such as Orff’s Carmina Burana. Recent appearances include concerts featuring Canadian music at York University and Trinity Anglican Church. Additionally, Neil has appeared at The Music Gallery as member of Diapason, an ensemble dedicated to improvisation and new music. He is also interested in the recording aspect of music and enjoys recording on his piano at home as well as for others in concert settings.
Neil has received numerous awards over the years including those from festivals, competitions, and school awards for academic excellence in achieving the highest mark within a music grade level. While studying at York University Neil won the Nancy Scoular Underhill Piano Award for exceptional promise and ability in classical piano. Additionally, he is a two time recipient of: the Patricia and Robert Martin Award for outstanding achievement in adjudicated performance, and the Thomas W. Doherty Prize in Piano for outstanding performance of a contemporary work for piano.
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