Part of the BSO Participate team, the BSO Associate Musicians communicate, inspire, educate and motivate people and communities through music. These professional freelance musicians and music-leaders also collaborate with their fellow BSO Associates across the South West on a variety of projects.

Neil Valentine is one of our Associate Musicians based in Hampshire, and works across the many BSO Participate strands; as part of his portfolio career. This includes working in primary and secondary schools, nurseries, hospitals, care homes and with community groups of all types. Recently Neil devised, led and directed a large scale community project with schools in Poole – The Poole Voyages with BSO partner Soundstorm. Working with students and teachers from Longfleet Primary School and Poole High School, Neil created a show involving 90 young performers and an ensemble of BSO players to celebrate the history of Poole and its historic quay.

Passionate about music-making in all settings, Neil believes everyone has the ability to be musical. His own musical journey began as a violinist, before changing to the viola at age 14. At this time he was also thankful to spend some time in the Southampton Youth Orchestra which he found to be an invaluable experience.

Neil working with students at Longfleet Primary School in association with Heritage Action Zone and Soundstorm

After studying at York University and Trinity College of Music, Neil became a member of Southbank Sinfonia in 2007 and during his time there discovered creative music workshops. He has led workshops with all ages and stages, in all kinds of genres of music whether it is writing songs with primary school children, creating cinematic soundscapes with teenagers, singing and wellbeing sessions in elderly care wards or bringing families together through music.

As well as working with the BSO, Neil has delivered music projects, workshops and performances with the Music for Youth, Turner Sims, RPO, Voces8Foundation, Winchester Chamber Music Festival, Spitalfields Music, BBC SO, BBC Proms, The Wigmore Hall, Southampton University, Winchester University, St Paul’s Sinfonia, Philharmonia Orchestra, LSO, music hubs across the region and many others.

‘Allianz Musical Insurance have been proud partners of the BSO for many years and continue to be amazed at the varied and unique ways in which the BSO supports musicians and the development of music in the community. The ability to inclusively share musical knowledge, experiences and skills is vital to the future of music in the UK and we understand the important role that freelance musicians and the BSO Associate Musicians programme plays in that.’ Brian Hillstead, Partnerships Manager, Allianz Musical Insurance

To find out more about the work of BSO Participate click here  … and hear more from Neil in the video below!