Neil Hickling

Neil was born in Nottinghamshire in 1976. His musical education began with piano lessons at the age of eight. He began learning the clarinet at school at the age of thirteen, and in 1992 commenced lessons with the distinguished clarinettist Nigel Hinson.

In 1995 he was awarded a place at London's Trinity College of Music, where his principal teachers were Keith Puddy (clarinet and 18th century clarinet) and Anthony Jennings (bass clarinet).

After graduating from TCM in 1999 with a Bachelor of Music Degree, Neil continued his studies at the University of Surrey, studying clarinet with Alexander Allen, and was awarded a Master of Music Degree in 2000.

Neil enjoys a varied performing career that encompasses symphonic, theatre and opera orchestral playing, chamber music and recital work. The musicians Neil has worked with include conductors Martyn Brabbins, Ryan Wigglesworth, Andrea Quinn and Diego Masson, Singers Sir John Tomlinson, Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams and Susan Bullock and instrumentalists Daniel & Emily Pailthorpe, Robert Manasse, Sophie Langdon, Phillip Fowke and Andrew West.

In 2002 Neil co-founded the clarinet quartet Ensemble 4. The quartet had an eclectic repertoire of pieces including a number of Neil's own arrangements. They performed regularly across the UK and abroad at concert venues ranging from the great cathedrals and castles of England & Scotland through to small libraries! In 2005 they undertook a Channel Islands Music Council Tour which saw them performing recitals on Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Sark. After giving the UK premiere of Joseph Vella's "Contrasts op.104", they were invited to perform at Malta's Victoria International Arts Festival in 2008.

Other chamber music experience includes performances of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Winds and Bax's Nonet with the ensemble Linoi.

Since 2003 Neil has been a member of the orchestra of the award winning Surrey Opera. With this company he has performed many of the 18th, 19th and 20th century's greatest operas. He was also involved in the world premiere of two neglected British operas: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's "Thelma" and George LLoyd's "Iernin".

Neil has twice been invited to play with the renowned St Endellion Festival Orchestra for their summer series of concerts. Firstly in 2011 for a performance of Wagner's epic opera "Die Walkure", and most recently in 2014 for performances of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, Beethoven's Mass in C, Brahm's first Piano Concerto, Gounod's Petite Symphonie and a semi-staged version of Puccini's masterpiece La Boheme.

Neil also has over twenty years experience teaching clarinet, saxophone and theory, coaching chamber music and working as an orchestral wind section tutor. His teaching practice has covered a wide range of abilities from beginner through to university and music college level, and he has held a number of school/college appointments over the years including positions at the Royal College of Music and the University of Surrey. Since 2003 he has been the clarinet & saxophone tutor at Farnborough Sixth Form College in Hampshire, one of the country's finest education establishments. A number of his pupils have gone on to study music at universities and conservatoires throughout the country.

He lives in Surrey with his wife Claire (also a professional musician) and their two children.


Please click here to visit Neil Hickling’s website


Neil appeared at St. Peter’s on 22nd November 2014

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