Neil McGovern

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About Neil

Neil McGovern is a professional saxophone performer and teacher based in Elephant & Castle, London.
Public liability insurance of £10 million

Neil is a versatile and competent saxophone player who has over two decades of experience performing in a wide range of styles from classical to jazz and popular genres. Whatever you need for your event he will be able to deliver with high quality professionalism. Neil graduated with distinction from the Masters programme at Royal College of Music and holds a first class honours BMus degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire. He won several competitions, including the Winifred Micklam Prize, the Birmingham Conservatoire Saxophone Prize, and was Highly Commended in both the Doris Newton Music Club Prize and the Royal College of Music Concerto Prize. Neil has performed with Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez, Louis Andriessen and Michael Finnissy. He premiered Ed Bennett’s saxophone concerto ‘Do Not Bend’ and performs with contemporary music group Decibel. He is a founding member of contemporary saxophone quartet Syzygy. Recordings include ‘Intervention’ with free jazz saxophonist Paul Dunmall; 'Dzama Stories' & 'My Broken Machines' with Decibel; and 'Songs for the Coming Day' with Syzygy. Solo improvisations have also been broadcast BBC Radio 3. He has performed at a number of British and World Saxophone Congresses. With over 17 years’ experience, Neil also teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama juniors and the Lady Eleanor Holles School. He has taught masterclasses at Trinity College of Music & Birmingham University and examined and adjudicated for Birmingham Conservatoire. Several of his students have won national competitions in recent years. Neil is married to Emma and has four children.

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4.8 out of 5
3 verified reviews
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Neil's Reviews

From Encore customers:

Ma J
8 months ago
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4.8 out of 5

We had Neil on our wedding reception and he was excellent. He made our night all the more special with his music. We're glad we had him.

Reply from Neil
8 months ago

It was a privilege to play for Ma and Philip’s wedding reception, it was a lovely event and they were a delightful couple to work with. They gave me such a clear idea of what they wanted musically. I wish them all the very best for their married life together.

Jennifer T
9 months ago
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4.8 out of 5

We absolutely loved having Neil play at our summer garden party. He joined in with the DJ brilliantly as well as a good playing solo. Our guests loved him. Great communication and worked to our needs and requirements. Pleasure to work with. Thanks Neil!!!!

Reply from Neil
8 months ago

It was a pleasure to play for Matt and Jen's party, thanks for the positive review and the photos of the event, much appreciated!

Neil B
9 months ago
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5 out of 5

Really great experience. Would definitely recommend Neil!

Reply from Neil
8 months ago

Very much enjoyed playing for Neil's party, the rain held off in the end which was good! Thank you for the positive review, I'm really grateful for that.

From other customers:

Michele (
4 years ago

"You played a very crazy and difficult part with so much passion and energy, and the result was really unbelievable!"

Kyle P
15 years ago

"Very comfortable in crossover repertoire."

From other musicians:

11 January 2016

Neil worked with my wind trio Gelachter Trio for a performance at the V and A Museum in 2011. He is a world class performer and a pleasure to work with.

Encore badges
10 gigs
Experienced: 10 bookings through Encore
Saved the day!
Booked for an Encore gig with less than 24 hours’ notice
8th Anniversary
This act has been working with Encore for over 8 years
Member of the Encore community forum

Neil's Song list

Please note this is just a small sample of possible tunes, there are many more which are possible.
All The Things You Are
Autumn Leaves
Blue Bossa
Cold Duck Time
Darn That Dream
Girl from Ipanema
Have You Met Miss Jones?
Just The Two Of Us
Lullaby of Birdland
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Mr Magic
Pick Up The Pieces
The Pink Panther Theme
Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
Song For My Father
St Thomas
The Way You Look Tonight
Fly Me To The Moon
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
T'Pau - China In Your Hand
Dire Straits - Your Latest Trick
Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder - Superstition
Stevie Wonder - I Wish
Billy Joel - Just The Way You Are
Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
George Michael - Careless Whisper
Bill Withers - Just The Two Of Us
Bill Withers - Lovely Day
Jackson Five - Blame It On The Boogie
Jackson Five - ABC
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Michael Jackson - Black or White
Mary J Blige - Family Affair
Lauryn Hill - Doo-Wop (That Thing)
TLC - Waterfalls
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Sting - Englishman in New York
Brian Adams - Summer of '69
The Eagles - Hotel California
Don McLean - American Pie
Abba medley
Beatles - When I'm 64
Beatles - Yellow Submarine
UB40 - Falling In Love With You
Gabriel's Oboe
Bach - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
Bach - Air on the G String
Vivaldi - Four Seasons
Purcell - Trumpet Tune
Mendelssohn - Wedding March
Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Puccini - O Mio Babbino Caro
Schubert - Ave Maria
Pachelbel - Canon in D
Saint-Saens - The Swan
Massenet - Méditation
Fela Kuti - Zombie
Youssou N'Dour - 7 Seconds
Recital Repertoire:
Absil, Jean - Sonata
Albright, William - Sonata
Babbitt - Accompanied Recitative
Bach - Sonata in Gm BWV1020
Beck, Conrad - Nocturne
Bonneau, Paul : Suite pour saxophone alto et piano
Bozza, Eugene - Aria
Capletti, Daniel - Ge(r)ms
Carter - Pastoral
Creston, Paul - Sonata
Cutler, Joe - Urban Myths
Denisov - Sonata
Desenclos, Alfred - Prelude, Cadence et Finale
Devreese, Frederic - Ostinati
Fafchamps, Jean-Luc - Decalcomanie de Reich et Ligeti
Françaix, Jean - Cinq danses exotiques
Franck - Violin Sonata
Grovlez, Gabriel - Sarabande Et Allegro
Hindemith - Sonata
Ibert - Histoires
Iturralde, Pedro - Pequena Czardas
Jolivet, Andre - Fantasie Impromptu
Koechlin, Charles - 15 Etudes for Saxophone & Piano
Koller, Hans - Spiritualise
Lunde, Lawson - Sonata
Lysight, Michel - Chronographie IX
Maurice, Paule - Tableaux de Provence
Milhaud - Scaramouche
Nodaira, Ichiro - Arabesque III
Piazzola - Histoire du Tango
Quate, Amy - Light of Sothis
Ravel - Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte
Ravel - Pièce en forme de Habanera
Rorem, Ned - Picnic on the Marne
Schmitt, Florent - Songe de Coppelius
Senk, Nina - Impetus
Wood, Nigel - Schwarzer Tänzer
Woods, Phil - Sonata
Yoshimatsu, Takashi - Fuzzy Bird Sonata
Zupko, Mischa - In Transit
Bennett, Ed - Do Not Bend
Binge, Ronald - Concerto
Birtwistle - Panic
Clancy, Sean - Strange to See You
Dubois, Pierre Max - Concerto
Glazunov - Concerto
Holcombe, Bill - Blues Concerto for alto saxophone
Ibert - Concertino da Camera
Schmitt, Florent - Légende
Tomasi, Henri - Concerto
Villa-Lobos - Fantasia
Yoshimatsu, Takashi - Saxophone Concerto
Bach - Sonata for Violin Solo No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003 - 4. Allegro
Berio - Sequenza IXb
Bozza, Eugene - Etudes
Cockroft, Barry - KuKu
Debussy - Syrinx
Dunmall, Paul - 60 Studies
Fitkin, Graham - Jim and Pam and Pam and Jim
Grisey - Anabuis et Nout
Leigh Harris, Richard - Encore IX
Havel, Christopher - Oxyton
Lauba, Christian - Balafon
Mead, Andrew - Scena
Noda, Ryo - Improvisation I
Noda, Ryo - Mai
Piazolla - Tango Etudes
Scelsi, Giacinto - Maknongan
Clyne, Anna - Choke
Engebretson, Mark - SaxMax
Jodlowski, Pierre - Mixtion
Rafferty, Dave - Dysmorphia
Reich, Steve - New York Counterpoint
Shatin, Judith - Penelope's Song
Subotnik, Morton - In Two Worlds
Shaw, Steve - Bombslot
Andriessen - Hout
Bennett, Ed - Cartoon Music
Downes, Andrew - Dreamland
Koechlin, Charles - Epitaph de Jean Harlow
Milhaud - La Creation Du Monde
Nin, Joaquin - Le Chant de Veilleur
Hindemith - Konzertstück
Noda,Ryo - Murasaki No Fuchi 1
Stockhausen - Knabenduett

Neil's Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£200
Up to 1 hour£250
Up to 2 hours£300
Up to 3 hours£350
Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

It is very common for events to run late and I totally understand and will be flexible to accommodate any reasonable changes of plan. If timings are changing for whatever reason just let me know.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

I can play a simple playlist from my iPod before and between my sets. Let me know what style of music you want so I can prepare something appropriate. There is no extra fee for this service.

How much time do you need to set up?

I aim to arrive an hour early but my set up time usually only takes 15-30 minutes.

Can I pick the songs you play from the set list?

My set lists are crafted from countless performances and learning what works best to ensure guests have an amazing time. There is a balance and pacing to a set. However, I’m definitely happy to chat through and make sure we find what works for your event.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

Absolutely,, all I need is access to a power socket.

Can you learn song requests before the event?

If a song isn't included in my song list don’t worry! If there is a particular song you'd like me to learn I am happy to do this for you.
Classical, Contemporary classical, Film / TV music, Musical theatre, Opera, Classical crossover, Jazz, Blues, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz, Cabaret, Modern jazz, Postmodern jukebox jazz, Swing, Gospel, Avant garde, Experimental, Pop, Covers, Funk, Soul, Tribute, World music, Indian music, Bollywood
See all genres
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Event types:
Concert, Wedding, Virtual event, Wedding proposal, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Bar / Club / Venue event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Burns night, Birthday party, Christmas party, New Year's Eve
See all event types
Other skills:
Arranger, Audio engineer, Producer, Orchestrator, Transcription, Sound technician, Fluent sight-reader, Fluent improviser, Instrumental teaching, Theory teaching
See all skills