Brian O'Neill

While I'm a percussionist these days, I originally studied classical piano. I put in a good 11 years, all the way through through high school. I also sung for many years in the world-famous Phoenix Boys Choir. At age 13, I started playing drums and percussion and about nine years later, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Studies from Northern Arizona University (thanks Steve). In 1999, I moved to Boston and have been freelancing as a drummer/percussionist ever since.

Musicians these days often wonder what my “main thing” is. I believe that my strongest characteristic as a musician lies in my diversity; I study and perform a variety of musical styles (orchestral, jazz, mexican folk, exotica, brazilian, middle-eastern, flamenco) on an equally-wide range of instruments. Over the last few years here in Boston, I have probably performed the most as a vibraphonist and hand percussionist with various world/jazz/cross-over bands. However, whether I am in a tuxedo at Carnegie Hall, on stage with disco/dance diva Donna Summer, in Mexico City at the Festival de Mexico with the Orchestrotica, or at a local club with my Mexican son band La Tuza, being versatile is still in my blood.

As of 1999 and prior to moving to Boston, I was probably best known for orchestral playing and big-band drumming. I had performed extensively in several groups including the Arizona Opera Ring Cycle Orchestra, the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts Orchestra, and the Flagstaff Symphony (as principal percussionist for several years)

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