Neil Fong Gilfillan
"Neil possesses the extremely rare combination of being both a dedicated teacher as well as a cellist who understands classical AND non-classical styles on an exceedingly high level. I can count on one hand the cellists I have met around the world with such an openness and ability to continually develop such a wide range of skills and bring them into the private teaching studio." Christian Howes
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Arlington, Texas, Neil enjoyed spending his practice time as a young cellist by practicing for orchestra and playing his favorite tunes by ear. While still in high school, Neil began lessons with Elizabeth Morrow at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he continued to study Music Performance. He completed his Master’s Degree in Music Performance and minor in Music Education at the University of North Texas in 2009, studying cello under Nikola Ruzević. Neil’s master class experience includes lessons with Eleanor Schoenfeld, Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić, David Grigorian, Michael Flaksman, and Wesley Baldwin.
Neil continues learning by training in the Suzuki Method (with Tanya Carey and Andrea Yun), and creative string playing with jazz violinist Christian Howes.
His experience attending music festivals include the Hot Springs Music Festival (Hot Springs, Arkansas), Tennesee Cello Workshop (Knoxville, Tennesee), and Upbeat Music Festival (Korčula, Croatia).
Neil branched out to collaborate with other musicians on rock, jazz, R&B, and hip hop projects. These experiences lead him towards pursue his goal of proving that the cello can fit into any style of music, and to help students push their creativity as far as it can go. He teaches his Suzuki Cello studio out of Frisco, Texas.