Early years/ studies

The drummer

Playing drums in Mt Isa's School Band
I was born in Mt Isa, a prosperous mining town in arid western Queensland, Australia. This interior part of the country is known as the Outback.
I started singing in the school choir from age 5 and playing percussion in the band at age 6. I do remember having a toy guitar when I was 7 years old. My father had played violin and my aunties all played the piano. My father's violin tuition had instilled in him a great love of Classical music, especially Beethoven. I remember being familiar with all the Beethoven symphonies by age 9.

Playing duos with my sister Emma
When I was 12 years old my family moved to the small town of Emerald (3,000 people then) in central Queensland and it was here I got my first real guitar. I was encouraged to play by my friend Warren Oshanesy, and with his help and with my own initiative I made what was slow progress. When I reflect on how I teach my own students now, I would have gone ahead in leaps and bounds, but alas I had no such teacher.

With friend and colleague Tony Vandermeer
Nevertheless, the guitar quickly became my passion and I headed to Brisbane after completing school in Rockhampton at St Joseph's Christian Brothers College. I soon found myself doing remedial technical studies at the Brisbane School of Guitar. I had two great teachers there: Peter Fomiatti and James Lloyd. I periodically would travel to Sydney with my friend and colleague Tony Vandermeer to have lessons with Dr Peter Calvo who had created the Sydney School of Guitar based on the London Spanish Guitar Centre started by Len Williams (Dr Calvo's former teacher) father of the great John Williams.

In 1985-1988 I studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University, with renowned guitarist Julian Byzantine. Whilst there, I won the Conservatorium Guitar Prize in 1985, 1986 and 1988 and the Bach Prize for Strings in 1986. As part of the Post Graduate Diploma, I received a standing ovation for my performance of the Concerto en Re by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra.
During these student years I was twice a finalist at the Australian Guitar Competition in Sydney in 1985 and 1988 and winner in the duo section in 1987 with Tony Vandermeer. Another caring teacher who had a very positive influence on my playing was the Brisbane based German born teacher Isolde Schaupp, mother and teacher of renowned guitarist Karin Schaupp.

international career

Participants Concurso Internacional Dr. Luís Sigal: Viña del Mar, Chile
In 1988 I was chosen to represent Australia in the Concurso Internacional de Ejecución Musical Dr. Luis Sigal in Viña del Mar, Chile. I then traveled up to New York , USA and following a successful live audition at the Manhattan School of Music, I was offered a place in their Master of Music Programme. Upon returning home to Australia I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the Australian American Education Foundation and returned to New York the following year where I studied with the famous Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa- Lima.

In 1990 I was a semi-finalist in the Concurso Internacional Alirio Díaz in Caracas, Venezuela, where Alirio Díaz and Leo Brouwer spoke very highly of my playing.
I lived and studied in Venezuela for most of 1990 where I learnt about Venezuelan music and became engrossed with the richness of Latin-American culture.

In 1993 I was a finalist in the Shell Darwin International Classical Guitar Competition in Darwin, Australia, where in the final I performed the Guitar Concerto by Larry Sitsky with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. International competitions are taxing but equally exhilarating experiences. Great friendships are born and one always learns so much from one's fellow competitors who are indeed great guitarists from all around the world.

At this stage, I was becoming one of a few Australian guitarists gaining an international reputation and establishing a concert career in Australia and abroad. In 1995 I founded the Queensland Guitar Society and was the President from 1995 to 1998. We presented four concerts a year and organised concert tours for some of the artists who played at these concerts.

In addition to my teachers, I have played in Master-Classes for some of the world’s most renowned teachers/players including John Williams, Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, Stephan Rak, David Tanenbaum, William Kanengiser and Rubén Riera.


I have made three tours of the United States, played concerts in Spain, Italy, France, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala in addition to many tours throughout Australia. A highlight was an invitation by the Western Australian Guitar Society in Perth where I played five concerts and gave masterclasses.


My recordings include two solo efforts: Fiesta Guitarra and Russell Neville Live in Concert and another new recording with a mixture of Elizabethan, Baroque, Modern and Popular pieces.
Two other recordings with the ensemble Colombia Linda, a five piece World Music group that combines the intricacy of classical music with the vivacity of Latin-American folklore.

Popular Style performances

In addition to my classical experience I have studied Jazz, Rock and Latin-American music and performed in many diverse range of musical genres:

- Colombian music spectacular: Calor Colombia, for the Brisbane Ethnic Music and Arts Centre at QPAC (2006)
- Rock show Tempo Rouge at Jupiters Casino, in the Gold Coast. (2007)
- Cantata Santa María de Iquique by Luis Advis and Epitaphios by Mykis Theodorakis with the Brisbane based choir Canto Coro. (2009/2010)
- In 1991, I formed Duo Serenata, with Guatemalan singer and close friend Ovidio Orellana. We have performed extensively throughout Australia, Central and South America. More recently in March 2012 we performed at the opening of the Viva la Frida exhibition dedicated to Frida Kahlo in Brisbane.

guitar tuition

Apart from my formal classical education and achievements, I have developed a sound career as a teacher and have incorporated influences from Rock, Jazz and Latin into my teaching and composing. Teaching is a very rewarding activity which I truly love. As a teacher, it is very encouraging to know that there is a substantial amount of research clearly demonstrating that learning a musical instrument stimulates cognitive development and leads to enhanced skills in a wide variety of areas. Improvements in reading, mathematics, science, self expression and overall intelligence are widely proven.

Churchie Guitars
I am on staff at the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in Brisbane. I enjoy teaching, arranging and composing for Guitar Ensemble and I am in the process of writing my personal method for guitar tuition

last biscuit

I addition to music, Sport has always been a passion of mine and as part of my duties at Churchie, I coach A level cricket teams. I referee rugby union with the Queensland Rugby Referees Association and have a level two rugby referee's certificate.

I live in Brisbane with my Colombian born wife María Fernanda and our two adorable daughters Mariana and Liliana.

Russell Neville | Guitarist | Guitar Teacher | Brisbane | 58 Aubigny St Annerley 4103 AUSTRALIA