Pauline McLynn, Actor
“Neil is a total joy to work with. He wears his talent lightly and is so inclusive. There is a rare delight about him that encourages all to be better than they are. He is also great fun.”
Jean Butler, Dancer and Choreographer
“Working with Neil is a truly unbelievable pleasure and honour. The ease at which we were able to find a common language towards a common goal has been a gift of substantial proportions. It is also a very rare thing. I look forward to every rehearsal knowing magic and mischief will ensue in equal measure.”
Barry Douglas, Pianist and Conductor
“I have known and admired Neil for years. What a versatile, gifted and exciting voice in the world of music.”
Andy Kemp, Director of Hell’s Pavement
“Neil created a beautifully executed score that heightened the warmth, tension and mood of the story. It was a pleasure to work with an artist whose immediate grasp of what was required was matched by his ability to create the music that flowed seamlessly through the film.”
Brendan Graham, author of ‘You Raise Me Up’
“When, in the darkness of a church hall, I first heard the West Ocean String Quartet play Neil Martin’s slow air from his Some Vague Utopia suite, I knew it was one of those gut-clawing pieces that wouldn’t leave me alone until I had attempted a lyric to it. The result was Knocknashee”
Stephen Rea, Film and stage actor
“Neil Martin is a musician of genius who possesses an exquisite sensitivity to language. To perform with him is to be part of a unique and thrilling experience. He is charting new territory for himself and for all of us.”
Edna O’Brien, Novelist
“Neil Martin loves music and makes us love music also. He answers to many worlds, but especially evokes the landscape he belongs to and even the stones of Donegal brighten in answer to Neil’s uilleann pipes.”
David Brophy, Leading Conductor
“I have known Neil Martin for well over ten years now.
It is safe to say that, in that time, I have met no other musician like Neil and I count myself fortunate to have directed premières of two major orchestral works from his pen – No Tongue Can Tell (2004) and Ossa (2007). His ability to assimilate seemingly disperate stylistic elements spanning traditional Irish to contemporary music in all its variants, is borne of a composer at one with his creative muse yet willing, not only to accept, but to embrace risk as the prime generator of any truly original voice. Over the past decade, an ever-increasing maturity has emerged in original concert works, orchestral arrangements, music for film and television and myriad settings of traditional tunes and airs for an array of chamber ensembles.
Neil the performer reflects and mirrors those qualities that see him shine as a composer. As cellist, piper and whistler, he transcends and indeed challenges our all too simplistic notions of genre and style in ways which remain wholly disarming to his many followers. Having performed alongside him here in Ireland and overseas, I am deeply touched by the ease with which he converses with musicians from all backgrounds via that one truly international language – music.
While it seems almost too good to be true, Neil encapsulates all aforementioned qualities of composer and performer while simultaneously avoiding the less attractive traits of many colleagues working in his field. A communicator beyond comparison, natural raconteur and bon vivant, his self-effacing demeanour belies a committed artist, determined to get the best from himself for the enjoyment of others. He has enriched my life through the years I have known and worked with him and I sincerely hope you allow him to do the same for you.”