The Kennedy Center

Lily Neill


Lily Neill is a harp player and composer who performs the traditional and modern music of Ireland and Scotland as well as her original compositions. She began playing harp at a young age, winning recognition for her artistic and technical achievements at major competitions, including the All-Ireland. She also won first place as well as additional honors at the U.S. National Scottish Harp Competition for four consecutive years. Neill guested with legendary Irish band The Chieftains and the late Derek Bell in 2001 & 2002 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. At age 14, she played for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and was a featured soloist in the American premiere of John Cameron’s “Missa Celtica.” 

Neill has performed on both television and radio in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States on stations such as RTE/TG4, BBC, and NPR. She is currently based in Limerick, Ireland, where she teaches, performs, and is pursuing a performance degree at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Music Centre. 

Without Words
, Neill’s first solo album, was released in September 2004 and has garnered an impressive array of reviews since its release. John O’Regan, of Irish Music Magazine, calls her “part of the new Harp revolution extolling aspects of harp music never previously heard” and writes that Without Words “is one of those said occasions when the compositional mind and the interpretative heart come together in harmony. It is a rare moment where music from the Celtic and classical traditions is welded with Oriental, jazz, and rock influences to produce music that while vaguely familiar, is new, fresh, and exciting.” Sweden’s Hallandsposten calls Without Words “a thrilling journey across the Irish tradition” and America’s Celtic Beat writes, "Without Words could only better be entitled Beyond Words. One word for this CD that could be used is exquisite…the possibilities are endless with Lily Neill. Beyond that, words fail.”
Lily Neill