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Brian O’Neill

Work Phone: 6179059660 Website:


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“äóîAllAboutJazz

As a double agent, Brian is sometimes spotted on his first, and perhaps the most ubiquitous percussion instrumentäóîthe pianoäóîand 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).