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Neil Kimel, Horn

Neil Kimel’s career as a horn player began as anything but a traditional one.  After receiving a B.A. in Cinema Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, he was invited to join the prestigious New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida where he performed under the baton of its music director, Michael Tilson Thomas.  Neil then returned to his hometown of Chicago where he frequently performed with most of Chicago’s leading ensembles.  Summers were spent as a member of many festival orchestras including Utah Festival Opera, Spoleto USA, National Orchestral Institute, and Tanglewood Music Center where Mr. Kimel was awarded both the C.D. Jackson Memorial Prize and the Harry Shapiro Award for Outstanding Brass Playing.  In 2000, he won the position of second horn with Chicago’s Grant Park Orchestra with whom he has recorded numerous times. Winters found Neil fleeing Chicago’s cold and snow for sunshine and warmth as third horn with the Sarasota (FL) Opera Orchestra.  Additionally, he has performed as a guest with numerous Symphony Orchestras including Kansas City, Nashville, Milwaukee, Calgary, St. Louis, Toronto, Dallas, Chicago and the Cleveland Orchestra with whom he toured to Vienna playing in the famed Musikverein. 

Neil is also an active recitalist.   Most recently, he has appeared with his wife mezzo-soprano Susan Platts at DePaul University, the Société d’art vocal de Montréal, and in London where they performed at St. John’s Smith Square and live on BBC Radio 3. 

In 2008, Sir Andrew Davis appointed Mr. Kimel as second horn of the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago.  When Neil leaves the opera pit, he is the principal horn of the Chicago Philharmonic with whom he has appeared as a soloist, a member of Tower Brass of Chicago, as well as a chamber music coach at Northwestern University and Adjunct Professor of Horn at DePaul University.  Privately and in masterclasses around the country, he coaches musicians of all instruments in audition preparation and mental techniques that lead players to a more consistent performance.