One of few male clarsach players in Scotland, Neil Wood was born in the small village of Neilston, thirty minutes south of Glasgow in Scotland and began playing at the age of six. Having been taught by internationally renowned lever harpist and traditional musician Rachel Hair for over 10 years, Neil is currently studying a BMus in Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he receives clarsach tuition from Heather Downie, Corrina Hewat and Karen Marshalsay. He is passionate about Scottish traditional music – specifically music from the Gaelic, Highland and West Coast traditions with a particular interest in historical music and the research, preservation and playing of ancient repertoire on both the gut and wire strung harp.
Neil is also interested in contemporary traditional music and creating new and innovative sounds that are sympathetic to past tradition. Composing and arranging regularly for solo and group performances as well as private commissions, Neil is an experienced composer, winning the Clarsach Composition Competition during Mòd Phaslig 2013. More recently he has began to experiment with electroacoustic composition and sonic art.
Keen to keep the tradition alive Neil teaches annually at Fèis Bharraigh for a week on the Island of Barra as well as teaching privately, one to one and in groups for a local authority throughout the year on a weekly basis.
Keen to promote the clarsach and traditional music in general, Neil performs across Scotland as well as suppling music for private events and functions. In addition to this Neil has been involved with various large projects including the Phil Cunningham Highlands and Islands Suite as part of the Celtic Connections festival, performing as part of a 200 piece ensemble in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.