Local musician-composer published nationally
May 31, 2007
He’s played music professionally in New York and California, conducted the Reno Philharmonic, runs his own violin shop and writes scores. After a lifetime of dedication to music, John O’Neill is receiving national recognition as several of his scores are being published by well-known publishers.
O’Neill has been playing music since he was in the fourth grade – “About 60 years,” he said – and has been writing compositions since high school.
He said he has “no idea” where the inspiration for his pieces come from but he said if he’s not inspired, “I just don’t write.”
O’Neill and his wife, Nelle, own and run the Carson Valley Violin School, which is finishing up its 15th year. They also own and run Carson Valley Violins, which is the only violin service shop from Reno to Las Vegas.
“We are very busy,” O’Neill laughed.
O’Neill currently has six compositions published and in circulation, and over the years has had about 20 pieces published. Some of O’Neill’s compositions went out of print and his more recent pieces are being picked up by well-known publishers.
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O’Neill writes all of his music on his computer using two music notations programs called Sibelius and Notion. The programs were developed by O’Neill’s friend of more than 50 years, Jack Jarrett, who attended Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, New York, with O’Neill.
The string orchestra scores just published by the Ludwig Music Publishing Company include “Awakenings,” “An Americana Medley,” “Mexicali Holiday,” “Back to the Country,” and “Last Spring.” All five have been recorded by strings from the Cleveland Orchestra for a demo CD. “Celtic Suite No. 1” is being published by TRN Music Publishers. Several of the pieces were written and arranged for, and performed by, the Carson Valley Sinfonia.
The O’Neills have lived in Nevada for 15 years. Aside from music, O’Neill is an avid wildflower photographer. Nelle spends her mornings making violins, many of which have won awards. In the afternoon, they both teach violin students – John, the beginning and intermediate students, and Nelle, the advanced students. John and Nelle plan to continue teaching, running their violin school and store, and also have plans to travel. They are going to Ithaca, New York -where they met and both attended school – in the fall. They also plan to travel to Ireland.