Jason McNeel joined the bass section of the Charlotte Symphony in the fall of 2017. As an orchestral bassist he has collaborated with his fellow musicians on many memorable concerts in and around Charlotte. In addition to the busy Charlotte Symphony season, Mr. McNeel has concertized with the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Symphonies domestically and on international tours to Europe and Asia. Highlights of these tours include playing on the stages of The Royal Albert Hall, Musikverein, Concertgebouw, Elbphilharmonie, and the Philharmonie Berlin. In the summer, he serves as principal bass with the Charlottesville Opera Orchestra. Mr. McNeel also serves on the faculties of Davidson College and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in addition to maintaining a private lesson studio. Mr. McNeel has studied with leading bass teachers such as Micah Howard, Jeff Turner, Owen Lee, and Albert Laszlo. He holds a Master’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University and Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Outside of orchestral playing, he also explores various jazz and pop styles and supports the vast local music scene in Charlotte. Beyond musical activities, Mr. McNeel is a fan of a well written book and enjoys hiking and yoga.
How did you select your instrument?
The bass is very versitale instrument that can be played in several different genres of music. Early on and still I've had an interest in playing jazz, classical, and many other styles.
Does your instrument have a story?
My first instrument was made my my father. He is a very dedicated amateur woodworker and took a year of his free time to make a bass that I still love playing to this day.
What would most surprise people about you?
I have spent most of my childhood summers working on the family farm in eastern West Virginia. One of my favorite chores was milking the cow.
If you could meet one composer, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
Haydn, I'd ask him for another copy of the Concerto for Violone that has been lost.
What's your funniest/most compelling on-stage moment?
The time when I was playing an outdoor barge concert in West Virginia and a beaver ran from backstage, through the orchestra, and into the audience!
Any pre-performance rituals?
I have a good, light meal.
Other than your instrument, what would we find in your instrument case?
Whatever book I'm reading.
What do you love most about being a professional musician?
It's one of the great professions in the world. In studying music, you gain knowledge of culture, science, psychology, physical, and emotional well being, history, and the list could go on forever. I can honestly say that being interested in music has had a direct positive effect on my health and happiness.