Arts Council of Wales | Neil Yates
Creative Wales Awards 2011/12

Neil Yates


Neil-YatesNeil was a successful trumpeter on the UK jazz and studio scene in the 1990s but he abandoned that life and took to a caravan, touring the music festivals of Britain and Ireland.

Immersing himself in Celtic music, Yates developed a unique trumpet approach drawing on traditional folk inflections as well as jazz. His award winning mixed genre album ‘New Origins’ generated many commissions as composer, including an antiphonal suite for jazz orchestra, ‘Surroundings’, nominated for British Composers Award 2011.

His new album ‘Five Countries’, released November 2011, has already received international acclaim. Neil lectures in music at several universities and just completed a PHD in Musical Artistry.


Neil-Yates-Five-Countries-TrioNeil’s work to date is considered to represent important advances in combining jazz and traditional musical expression, along with imagery and narrative, for small to medium size ensembles.

He would use the award to take time out to broaden his artistic potential and improve the existing skills and understanding he has through a series of intensive, in-depth mentorships with respected professionals in the five diverse areas of artistic expression that he currently employs in his works:

  • traditional music of Britain and Ireland
  • American style jazz
  • visual imagery
  • narrative storytelling/prose
  • orchestration

The aim is to gain a more thorough understanding in each area of artistic expression, to investigate their similarities and shared or common ground, in both execution and intention, and to see more clearly where the boundaries of these areas blur, that he may create more fluid and unified artistic output.

The programme will consist of a series of these mentorships taking place at suitable intervals across the year. This Creative Wales Award will cover the fees of the various mentors, the travel and accommodation costs of the mentorships, and some sustenance for himself during the mentorship and subsequent evaluation periods. The experience and knowledge Neil will gain will greatly fuel all his future creative endeavours.

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