Brian O’Neill: percussionist, composer, pianist (NYC & Boston)

Brian O’Neill: percussionist, drummer, vibraphonist, composer

"…Percussion master and musical polymath…"—Boston Phoenix

"…Brian's not just a great musician; he's also a first-rate composer."—Huffington Post

Brian with tambourines. by Robin Holland

Brian on vibes. by Yves Renaud


Boston Phoenix logo Winner: 2012 Music Poll - Best World Music Act (Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica)

Huffington Post"ridiculously talented"

Downbeat"…incredible musicianship…"

"…positively mesmerizing, and more than occasionally tranquilizing."—The Brooklyn Rail

"…may be, in the long run, a better exoticist than [John] Zorn…"—AllAboutJazz

"I just wanted to thank you again for the amazing seminar at UML. I know that you made a huge impact on the students and I did not even have to ask them, I could just feel it. (Of course many of them came up and told me how great it was!) It was not only your musicianship and interesting musical concepts, it was the way you presented everything with an obvious passion and contagious energy."—Jeff Fischer, percussion instructor University of Massachusetts Lowell

Latest newsletter

Upcoming Concerts / November Music News from Brian…Nov 1, 2017

Brian on vibes. by Robin Holland

Orange press photos by Robin Holland.

Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica Concerts (3)

Sat, 2/24/18 @ 7:30 PM Our first time in Bonita Springs, FL! Excited……more Bonita Springs, FL
Sun, 2/25/18 @ 3:00 PM Our first show in FL kicks off with Artist……more Venice, FL
Fri, 3/2/18 @ 8:30 PM We're looking forward to being part of the……more Cutler Bay, FL

All Other Concerts (3)

My various bands and ensembles...

Sun, 12/3/17 @ 3:00 PM Holiday Pops (drums) with Albany Symphony.…more Albany, NY
Tue, 12/12/17 @ 9:30 PM Klezwoods returns home to Atwoods yet again……more Cambridge, MA
Thu, 2/15/18 @ 8:00 PM Playing drums for Ishna (celtic music)……more Newberry, SC

Complete show calendar

About Brian

Brian O'Neill is a versatile multi-percussionist based in New York City and Boston. A "percussion master and musical polymath" (Boston Phoenix), he has performed in a variety of contexts including opera and classical (South Florida Symphony, Boston Festival Orchestra, Arizona Opera Ring Cycle Orchestra, Flagstaff Symphony), as a concert soloist (Sun City Symphony), pop music (Kristin Chenoweth, Donna Summer, Archie Bell, the Del-Larks), and jazz (Bert Seager, Peter Erskine, Wallace Roney, Ernie Watts). While he continues to freelance as an orchestral player and theatre drummer, he has become active in the global music scene performing music from Europe, the Middle East and Latin America regularly. As a multi-percussionist, he performs with his Mexican roots band La Tuza, klezmer-Balkan-Mediterranean hybrid The Klezwoods, The Bert Seager quartet, Mexo-Americana all-stars The David Wax Museum, sephardic trio Aljashu, flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual and others.

Brian's musical adventures have brought him to the Montreal Jazz Festival (main stage), Hawaii International Jazz Festival, the prestigious Festival de Mexico, various stages in Japan, The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall. Currently, he leads a "marvelously flexible" ensemble (Boston Globe) called Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica, which is comprised of two unique ensembles: a vibraphone quartet interpreting exotica music from a third-stream perspective, and the world's only big band performing Brian's transcriptions of the lost music of Juan Garcia Esquivel, the Mexican arranger and king of space-age-bachelor-pad music. In 2010, his Exotica for Modern Living recording series launched with an homage to Esquivel that received "four stars" from the Sunday Times London and was deemed "deliciously demented and entertaining in equal parts" by the Wall Street Journal. "O'Neill may be, in the long run, a better exoticist than [John] Zorn"—AllAboutJazz

As a double agent, Brian is sometimes spotted on his first, and perhaps the most ubiquitous percussion instrument—the piano—and recently joined the contemporary chamber quartet CORDIS. Keep up with Brian and learn about his addiction to studying global tambourine techniques at or on Twitter (@orchestrotica). Audio/Video, Bands/projects, Show calendar.