Towards the end of his extraordinary playing career as an oboe soloist and member of various orchestras, Neil Black OBE was able to devote more and more time to helping and supporting young musicians at the start of their careers. To this end, he became Artistic Director of the Kirckman Concert Society and advisor to the Tunnell Trust. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Neil encouraged and inspired young players with his own inimitable brand of humour. An annual award in his name seems an appropriate way to provide a legacy for future generations of woodwind players, and it will do much to keep alive memories of a great musician and a wonderful man.
Money donated to the Countess of Munster Musical Trust in Neil’s memory has been used to establish the Neil Black Award, which is presented to an outstanding woodwind player annually, to support their studies at postgraduate level and to help them as they move towards a musical career. The award-winner is selected by the Trustees in the course of the study award auditions each spring. Previous recipients of the Neil Black Award are three oboists, Manou Rolland in 2018, Hannah Condliffe in 2019 and Polly Bartlett in 2021, the bassoonist Olivia Palmer-Baker in 2020 and the clarinettist Isaac Prince in 2022. The most recent recipient of the Neil Black Award is bassoonist Siping Guo in 2023.
See below for ways to donate to help support the continuation of the Neil Black Award.