International prize-winning organist Neil Cockburn is Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Celebrated for his diverse repertoire interests and expertise, he performs an all-encompassing spectrum of solo organ recitals on a wide range of instrument types, from all-Bach recitals on historically inspired organs, to symphonic programmes on romantic instruments, and concerts of entirely new works. His most recent solo recording is of the Mass on the Sixth Tone with three Magnificat Suites by the seventeenth-century French composer, André Raison.
Born in Scotland, Neil Cockburn’s musical education was at Oxford University (BA Hons, Music), the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK (MusM, Organ Performance, and the Professional Performance Diploma, PPRNCM), the Conservatoire National de Région Rueil-Malmaison, France (Premier prix de perfectionnement), and the University of Calgary (PhD, Musicology). His formative teachers and mentors include David Sanger, Margaret Phillips, and Dame Gillian Weir. He won First Prize at the 1996 Dublin International Organ Competition, and has received numerous other prestigious awards, including the W. T. Best Memorial Organ Scholarship (UK), a scholarship from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust (UK), and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize — awarded by an international panel of judges.
He held the University of Calgary’s Cantos Music Foundation Organ Scholarship, a guest faculty position, celebrating the inauguration of the new North German Baroque organ built by the Ahrend Organ Company of Germany from 2006 until 2009. From 2000-2015 he was Head of Organ Studies at Mount Royal Conservatory, where he worked alongside Simon Preston on the International Summer School (2000-2009), and was Artistic Director of the Calgary Organ Festival (2010-2015). He was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award (Credit Free) by Mount Royal University in June 2014.
As a harpsichord and continuo player he performs regularly with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. With theorbists Victor Coelho and David Dolata and the group “Il Furioso,” he performed harpsichord continuo on two recordings of early seventeenth-century Italian repertoire for the Toccata Classics label: recordings of the music of G.G. Kapsberger and B. Castaldi.