Palmerston North French hornist William McNeill has an early Christmas present for local music lovers.

Now based in Germany, McNeill is giving up a German Christmas semester break of mulled wine, spice cakes and Christmas markets along with a liberal dusting of snow for a couple of weeks of Kiwi summer to visit family and friends.

While back home the former Boys' High student will give a public recital with pianist Guy Donaldson at the Evelyn Rawlins Room to say thank you for local support for his studies.

The young musician has nearly completed his postgraduate music studies in Weimar, Germany, with top European horn teacher Jörg Brückner – only one of four students accepted out of over 24 applicants.

"A lot of people in Palmy have been very supportive of my studies.

"A concert is a nice way to say thank you, and I can show people what I have been doing for the last few years.

"I will be playing a programme that really shows off the horn – some big brassy sounds, along with soaring melodies."

McNeill has been blowing up a storm.


Awarded a Creative New Zealand scholarship this year, he has mixed study with learning on the job – regularly playing with the Rotterdam Philharmonic along with other Dutch and German orchestras.

He has also played in the backing band for one of the biggest Indie bands in the Netherlands and pop groups since leaving New Zealand five years ago.

But he can't stay for much of the summer.

Quite apart from his studies, McNeill has been accepted for the German Youth Orchestra which starts rehearsing in early January and then starts a temporary position with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in north Bavaria.

"I might miss out on the sun, but I will be in Bavaria for their famous Carnival festival."

William McNeill (horn) accompanied by Guy Donaldson (piano), 4pm, Sunday December 15, Evelyn Rawlins Room, Square Edge. Entry $10/$5 at the door.