Tara McNeill

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Tara McNeill (pronounced TAR-a) is an Irish violinist, harpist, and soprano singer from Antrim, Northern Ireland.[1][2] She was born on 27 July.[citation needed]

Early life and career[edit]

McNeill comes from a family that is musically inclined. All her siblings play musical instruments. At St. Joseph's Primary School in Antrim, McNeill showed potential as a musician. McNeill took to singing at a young age. By age 7, she was learning to play piano and by age 8, she was playing the violin.[3]

McNeill was part of the junior and senior Ulster / North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) Youth Orchestra, performing with them for 7 years and leading the senior orchestra at the age of 17.[3][4]

She was selected as Head Girl in St. Louis Grammar School, Ballymena in 2008-2009.[1]

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Teaching and Performance, with a focus on violin, from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. There, she studied under Michael D’Arcy. She graduated with First class honours in June 2009 with the highest marks in her year.[1][3] McNeill performs on a Roger Hansell violin.[1]

Musical career[edit]

McNeill toured with the Irish choral ensemble Anúna as both a solo violinist and as a singer from 2010 to 2014. She also played violin on the now deleted Anúna album Illumination released in 2012.[1]

In April 2013, McNeill performed the Irish premiere of Finzi's Violin Concerto in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland.[1]

In 2014, McNeill was a lead performer in the show Ireland Calling as a violinist, harpist, and singer. The show appeared in Copenhagen, Denmark and Dublin, Ireland in 2014.[1]

Celtic Woman[edit]

In August 2015, McNeill played the harp as part of the orchestra in Celtic Woman: Destiny, a DVD and PBS TV special filmed in the Round Room at the Masion House, in Dublin, Ireland.[1]

On 7 August 2016, McNeill was announced as the newest principal member of the all-female Irish musical ensemble Celtic Woman. McNeill took over for founding and long-time Celtic Woman violinist Mairead Nesbitt, who took leave from the group to pursue her own projects.[citation needed] McNeill joined Mairead Carlin as the only two principal performers of Celtic Woman to come from Northern Ireland.[5]

On 15 August 2016, McNeill began recording in the studio for Celtic Woman. McNeill's first live concert with Celtic Woman was on 16 September 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her first album as an official member of Celtic Woman was Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels.

Other career highlights[edit]

McNeill has toured in many countries and has performed with well-known artists such as Barry Douglas, Bono, Il Divo, Julie Feeney, Josh Groban, and Damien Rice. She has performed at prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Oriental Arts Center, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts.[1]

Prior to joining Celtic Woman, McNeill taught violin in Mount Anville Junior School, Dublin, teaching about 50 students.[1][6]

McNeill began recording her debut solo album on 8 August 2016, after being announced as a member of Celtic Woman.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

McNeill married Alexander "Alex" Bernstein in January 2018.[7][8]


With Celtic Woman


  • Leo Gibney Award for Chamber Music (RIAM)
  • 2009: Ballymena Music Festival’s prestigious Young Instrumentalist Award[9]
  • 2010: Holywood Music Festival’s Sinfonietta Cup[10]
  • 2010: Holywood Music Festival’s d’Arcy Cup and Award[10]
  • 2010: Holywood Music Festival’s Ulster Bank Festival Gala Cup[10]
  • 2012: Inaugural Flax Trust Classics £5000 bursary[11][12]
  • 2012: George & Angela Moore Flax Trust Classics Audience Award[11]
  • 2016: Grammy Award nominee for Best World Music album at the 59th Grammy Awards (for Destiny, with Celtic Woman)[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Tara McNeill Irish Violinist Singer Harpist". Tara McNeill Irish Violinist Singer Harpist. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Tara McNeill is the newest member of Celtic Woman - Celtic Woman". 8 August 2016. Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Tara McNeill Irish Violinist Singer Harpist". Tara McNeill Irish Violinist Singer Harpist. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  4. ^ Musician Tara McNeill with Brian Reynolds on Q Cafe, retrieved 21 August 2016
  5. ^ "Meet The Girls - Celtic Woman - Irish Music Sensation". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Tara McNeill Music from Antrim". www.artisttrove.com. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Congratulations to Tara on Her Wedding Day". Celtic Woman.
  8. ^ "Wedding Bells Will Play For Violinist Tara". Belfast Telegraph.
  9. ^ "Who won what at Ballymena Festival". www.ballymenatimes.com. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Trophy Winners 2010". 2 July 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The Inaugural Flax Trust Classics | The Flax Trust". flaxtrust.com. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  12. ^ "2012 Events | Flax Trust Classics 2012. The winner, Tara McNeill with Noel Thompson BBC NI with Fr Myles Kavanagh and Sr Mary Turley". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Here Is the Complete List of Nominees for the 2017 Grammys". Billboard. Retrieved 27 January 2018.

External links[edit]