Beginning his studies on the viola at age seven, US-born William Neri studied in New York and Connecticut before moving to Boston to attend the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. The Christian A Johnson scholarship enabled William to attend The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree under the guidance of Victoria Chiang. As a graduate ensemble assistant, William completed his Master of Music at The University of Maryland College Park where he studied with Daniel Foster.
As a student, William has become a well-rounded musician through the tutelage of various teachers and has participated in masterclasses with esteemed musicians such as Heidi Castleman, Kim Kashkashian and Benjamin Zander.
William has held principal and tutti positions in ensembles such as the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, the Occasional Symphony and the Peabody Symphony and Concert orchestras. His frequent orchestral and chamber music performances have also brought him to notable stages across the globe including the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Laeiszhalle Hamburg and the Kennedy Center.
During his travels, William has been a fellowship and scholarship recipient at various music festivals. His engagements have included performances with the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the National Orchestral Institute and the Brevard Music Center. During these engagements he has performed under the baton of revered conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Semyon Bychkov and Osmo Vänskä.
Read a blog by William about working in collaboration with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet.
William’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by Derek Stubbs.
What do you love about classical music?
Classical music is like a secret language that everyone can understand, but only performers can speak. The more and more one listens to it, the better they become at understanding it, and the more someone plays it, the better they can become at communicating with it. What I love about this is that I can converse in this language at length with my colleagues during a performance, and no matter how deep and intricate our dialogue might be between each other, we will always be heard and understood by the audience.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Currently listening to the Enescu’s Octet for Strings, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, some Art Tatum and Count Basie, and Django Rheinhardt’s complete works.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I jumped out of a plane once a few years ago, and am very eager to do it again.