Sound Mechanic Neil Feather has been creating radical and unusual musical instruments since 1970 and is increasingly known as one of the most original musical thinkers of his day. His instruments each embody uniquely clever acoustic and engineering principles, and are visually arresting. The music he plays on the instruments is equally original, embodying new principles and resulting in a nearly alien idiom of music.
Neil Feather has been involved in Baltimore’s fertile and eccentric culture since moving there in 1985. He was a founding member of the Red Room Collective and the High Zero Foundation, a group committed to the presentation of experimental and improvised music. He has a long history of collaborative projects and solo concerts.
Some of his major music projects are The Official Project, Thus, Aerotrain, Elephantitans and Mugwump. These groups all centered on Feather’s instruments and compositions.
Feather’s work has always been fully rooted in art and music together in concept, execution and performance. His deep involvement with Baltimore’s experimental music community compliments his wide international acclaim. He won the 2014 Sondheim Art Prize and the 2014 Trawick Art Prize. He was included in a major exhibition “Art or Sound” in the 2014 Venice Biennale.
Independent Interdisciplinary Artist (“Sound Mechanic”)
1970 – present
- Active in unusual interdisciplinary creative work spanning the areas of sculpture, instrument design and musical performance.
- Creation of a large body of original work focused on entirely new musical instruments and sound sculptures with a strong visual component, often employing unusual mechanical and acoustic principles.
- Performance of over 200 concerts of original music using these instruments in the U.S. and Canada, including several ensembles exclusive to these instruments.
- Collaboration with a large number of significant new music performers and composers.
- International critical recognition in the areas of experimental music and sound art.
- Board Member, The High Zero Foundation, Inc. (Red Room Collective) 1996 – 2006. The High Zero Festival is the premier festival of improvised music in North America, connected with a weekly series, The Red Room. Located In Baltimore, the festival combines international performers, highly exotic music, a program of gallery sound installations, and unusually large audiences each year to promote sonic experimentation. The festival is currently in its 16th year, and has received international acclaim.
- 2015 Nondo Installation, Audio Foundation, Auckland, New Zealand
- 2015 Sometimes a Great Notion, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore MD
- 2014 Winner, Sondheim Art Prize Finalist Exhibition, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore MD
- 2014 Trawick Contemporary Art Prize Finalist Show, Gallery B, Bethesda, MD
- 2014 “Art or Sound” Fondazione Prada, Venice Bienalle, Venice, Italy
- 2010 “Thunder Wheels” Interactive Sound Installation, Megapolis Audio Festival, Baltimore, MD
- 2008 Exhibitor “Music and the Brain Salon” American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
- 2007 Options 2007: group show at Edison Gallery, curated by Washington Project for the Arts & the Corcoran, Washington DC
- 2007 Sondheim Semi-Finalist Show at Artscape, Baltimore, MD
- 2007 Shapes and Sizes: group show at Area 405, Baltimore, MD
- 2007 Quality Machines: solo show at The Greenbelt Community Centre, Greenbelt, MD
- 2007 Faculty Exhibition, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
- 2004 Cram Session: 02 Dark Matter: Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
- 2003 “High and Long / Low and Turning” sound installation, High Zero Festival, The Brown Centre: Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
- 2002 “Oddstruments” Artscape, Baltimore, MD
- 1994 Installation “The Ecstatic Garden of Sublime Delerium” Artscape, Baltimore, MD
Artists Grants and Awards
- 2015 Sondheim Art Prize
- 2015 Trawick Contemporary Art Prize
- 2009 Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition Fifth Place
- 2007 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award
- 1991 New Forms Regional Grant, Painted Bride Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA
- 2015 Wellington School of Music, Wellington New Zealand
- 2007 School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- 2007 The Maryland Institute College of Art
- 1985 Artpark – Lewiston, NY Artist in Residence
MFA, University of Montana
BFA, Pennsylvania State University