Brian O’Neill: eclectic percussionist, drummer, composer (Boston, MA)

Biography: Brian O'Neill (multi-percussionist, composer, bandleader)

Phone: 347.482.1775
Email: brian@crashandboom.com

Brian with tambourines. by Robin Holland

Boston Phoenix logo
"…a percussion master and musical polymath…"

All About Jazz
“…If John Zorn is an exotica Picasso, O'Neill is his Georges—Braque counterpart in cubism's transposition to music…and may be…a stronger exoticist than Zorn.…” —Gordon Marshall, AllAboutJazz

Boston Globe
“…[The Orchestrotica is] a marvelously flexible unit…”—Jonathan Perry, The Boston Globe

Downbeat
“…incredible arrangements, musicianship and artistic direction…the only thing better than hearing the record would be seeing this group live.…”—Frank Alkyer, DOWNBEAT

Download Bio:

Download (.docx)

Short Bio:

Brian O’Neill is a versatile multi-percussionist, drummer and composer based in Boston who has performed at The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall among others. A “percussion master and musical polymath” (Boston Phoenix), Brian performs regularly in a wide variety of musical contexts including jazz, classical, world music, and theatre. In addition to freelancing, he leads Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, which performs original global jazz and chamber music as well as the lost music of Esquivel (“deliciously entertaining”—Wall Street Journal). Brian has also performed with Portland Symphony, Albany Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra, Kristin Chenoweth, Donna Summer, the national tour of Motown the Musical, and is regularly heard at North Shore Music Theatre. Follow Brian at crashandboom.com or on Twitter/Instagram (@orchestrotica).

Full Bio:

Brian O’Neill is a versatile multi-percussionist, drummer and composer based in Boston, MA. A “percussion master and musical polymath” (Boston Phoenix), Brian performs regularly in a wide variety of musical contexts including western classical orchestras, musical theatre, jazz groups, and world music ensembles. Brian is also the Artistic Director of Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, the internationally acclaimed dual-ensemble that includes two incomparable ensembles: the world’s only Esquivel Megaband performing Brian’s transcriptions of Juan Garcia Esquivel’s lost space-age pop music (“deliciously entertaining”—Wall Street Journal), and a global jazz and exotic chamber music quintet that interprets Brian’s original compositions and radical adaptations of classical works (“engagingly unique”—Boston Globe). The Orchestrotica has released three albums in its Exotica for Modern Living series, all of which have received critical international acclaim including a “four star” review from the Sunday London Times, and two “Top 10 Albums of the Year” awards from the Huffington Post. AllAboutJazz once said, “O’Neill may be, in the long run, a better exoticist than [John] Zorn,” and his music with the Orchestrotica has been featured in film and on stages in Canada, Mexico, Germany, and across the United States.

As an orchestral and chamber musician, Brian has worked with Portland Symphony, Albany Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Arizona Opera, cordis, and as a soloist with Sun City Symphony in AZ. Brian is also a show drummer and percussionist, and has performed with Kristin Chenoweth, Donna Summer, the national tour of Motown the Musial, and as a regular drummer at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. Additionally, Brian has a love for world music and is a regular performer with Ishna (Celtic/Irish, bodhran, drumset), Klezwoods (klezmer/Balkan, riq, doumbek, cajon, drum set), and Jeni Jol (Balkan/Turkish, frame drums). His musical adventures have brought him to national and international stages including The Montreal Jazz Festival (main stage), The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall among others.

Brian graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Northern Arizona University, studying with Dr. Steven Hemphill. He also speaks Spanish and Portuguese and studied Brazilian music and percussion in Salvador da Bahia. Keep up with Brian and learn about his fascination with global tambourine playing techniques at crashandboom.com or on Twitter and Instagram.