Neil Black Award

The Neil Black Award

              Neil Black (1932 – 2016)

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. It was heartwarming to see them respond. 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, to be 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 two other oboists, Manou Rolland in 2018 and Hannah Condliffe in 2019, and the bassoonist Olivia Palmer-Baker in 2020.

Photo C Christodoulou

The recipient of the Neil Black Award 2021 is the oboist Polly Bartlett (photographed here at a recording session at Abbey Road). Polly will continue her postgraduate studies this autumn at the Royal College of Music in London, where she also studied for her undergraduate degree.

To ensure the continuation of the Award, please consider making a donation – you can use this link to our online donation page:


Alternatively, you can write a cheque made payable to The Countess of Munster Musical Trust (please mark the back of your cheque “Neil Black Award” and add details of your postal or email address) and send it to The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Wormley Hill, Godalming, Surrey GU8 5SG.  If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to Gift Aid your donation, please use the Gift Aid form and send it to The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Wormley Hill, Godalming, Surrey GU8 5SG.

Or you can donate by bank transfer to Account Name: Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Sort Code: 40 52 40, Account No: 00006259 and use “Neil Black Award” as the payment reference, with an email to admin@munstertrust.org.uk providing details of the payment. If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to Gift Aid your donation, please use the Gift Aid form and send it to The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Wormley Hill, Godalming, Surrey GU8 5SG.

The Countess of Munster Musical Trust will use your personal details to acknowledge receipt of your donation, and you will be given an opportunity to opt in to receive more information about the Neil Black Award and the work of the Trust.