A chat with the MOBO award-winning Jazz lecturer

Our Principal Lecturer in Piano on the Jazz Pathway, Ivo Neame, has been nominated for a MOBO ‘Best Jazz Act’ with his band Phronesis. Another band he plays in called Kairos Quartet received the award two years ago, so we’ve got our fingers crossed for this time! The awards are on Wednesday 22 October. We caught up with Ivo to find out about his love of jazz, and his career in Leeds.

What was your earliest musical experience?
I remember making a drum kit out of biscuit tins and milk bottles when I was about four years old. The pain hasn't stopped since for my parents…
Who/what motivated you to have a career in music?
Music became a very big part of my life – I just wanted to play all the time. Everyone from teachers at school to my family motivated me.
How did your career develop?
I went to music college, did OK but didn't really start practicing really seriously till I left. Then I realised it's what I would do for the rest of my life
What is the best thing to have happened in your career to date?
Probably playing in Australia in the Melbourne Recital Centre – I never thought I would travel as far as the antipodes for a gig!
How would you describe your biggest challenge in your role?
It's to keep things fresh. I have to keep inspired and keep writing new music and trying to find new ways of writing and playing. Inspiration goes up and down – I don't think that ever changes.
What attracted you to coming to work at Leeds College of Music?
I knew people who had graduated from the course and I play with lots of those musicians. I also knew they had really good teachers there so I was really happy when they gave me the job!
What's your dream collaboration?
I would like to play with Kurt Rosenwinkel if possible. I love his writing and his playing. He has that incredibly rare combination of tradition and innovation in his musical approach.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Probably recording the albums that I have as a leader – it's blood, sweat and tears making them sound as good as possible!
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
I love Keith Jarrett. Where do you start – he's so prolific, he straddles many genres of music. He is taken seriously by the classical music establishment and jazz audiences. I really think he's a once-in-a-generation type of musician.
Where would you like to be in five years? 
I would like to be touring and making albums still!

Listen to Ivo's current albums here:

Caught In The Light Of Day



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"I have to keep inspired and keep writing new music and trying to find new ways of writing and playing. Inspiration goes up and down – I don't think that ever changes."

Ivo Neame, Principal Piano Lecturer (jazz), Leeds College of Music

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