Neil's dramatic and compelling scores have been heard around the world. From prime-time television to the far reaches of South African National Geographic documentaries, he has been attached to many noteworthy projects.
Having studied both piano and percussion in early musical development, and completion of a four year military assignment, after high school, with the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) Band, a joint military musical organization, Neil pursued a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition at North Texas State University at Denton. UNT is a school highly regarded for jazz studies in performance and composition. It was here that Neil discovered his talent for writing music and was encouraged to major in music composition.
Neil received his Master of Music in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley, where he developed his jazz and contemporary music repertoire, including orchestration and conducting for various sized ensembles and combinations. He began writing for corporate and commercial clients while keeping an eye on the long-term goal of writing for film and television.
During this period, Neil was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and became the first composer-in-residence for Colorado, leading to his scoring of Zebulon Pike and The Blue Mountain with Burgess Meredith. Neil met Marty Stouffer in Aspen, and was invited to write the main theme for a new television series, "Wild America", which later became a major international wildlife series and later yet, developed into a motion picture at Warner Brothers. In addition to the theme, Neil scored many of the episodes. The “Born to Run” episode of "Wild America" won the Gold Award at the 27th Annual International Film and Television Festival of New York.
After 12 seasons on PBS, a syndication deal with Paramount Television was signed and the series aired on CBS, NBC and around the world. Composing for the “Wild America” series I learned the mechanics of composing to picture, meet production deadlines and how to listen and ‘hear’ the demands of the producer/director. We had a sizable music budget which allowed for a 25-piece orchestra, unheard of on a PBS series. Here, I develop more of my orchestration knowledge, as well as perfect my conducting to picture.”
neil's Creative Process
With the success of "Wild America”, Neil decided to move to Los Angeles to continue writing for film and television. In Los Angeles, Neil was introduced to Rocky Moriana, then director of Aaron Spelling’s Music Department. Mr. Moriana invited Neil to attend scoring sessions for many of Spelling’s television productions, later orchestrating for several shows, including The Colbys and Dynasty and later for Paramount Television’s “MacGyver”. Neil composed for "(The New) Mission: Impossible”, and later writing for "Beverly Hills 90210", "Hearts Are Wild", and "Melrose Place".
While writing for television, Neil pursued film scoring, where he composed the score for"The Cat Story” (Andy Devine), produced by Film Buff Productions/MGM-UA Filmland, directed by Andy Tennant. Neil scored "The Laureate", winner of the Golden Eagle Award at the Houston International Film and Video Festival and later signed by Palatine Cinema to score "Un Incontro / An Encounter".
Neil scored the Emmy Award-winning "Survivors of the Skeleton Coast" for National Geographic Television. The Special’s producers asked Neil to score the new spin-off mini-series, "Skeleton Coast Safari”. The series enjoyed tremendous success in its first season, with the soundtrack released on the Cantiga Music label.
Further recognizing Neil’s work, Kronos Records released the long awaited soundtrack from the television series "Wild America" in a limited edition. Neil’s music played an integral role in the success of the series and enjoyed by millions over the years, and performed by orchestras nationwide. Kronos Records also released Neil’s orchestral soundtrack from the motion picture P.J. in Nov 2014.
Neil's scores have included full and studio sized orchestras, as well as digital/sampled scoring and combinations thereof. He is now scoring feature length motion pictures to include “P.J.”, "The Legends of Nethiah", "Chasing the Green", “Chavez” among others.
In addition to his film and television career, Neil has served as an Associate Professor at California State University at Northridge, a guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities across America and the Studio Task Force at Biola University. (See PORTFOLIO for Awards and Organizations).
Orchestra recording session film provided by Scott Brown
PBS signed for the rights to broadcast Marty Stouffer's series Wild America in 1981. The series almost immediately became one of the most popular aired by PBS, It was one of PBS's most highly rated regular series, never leaving the Top Ten, and in more than one year, it was the Number One highest rated regular series to air on the Network. Many of the 260 PBS stations chose to broadcast the programs multiple times each day throughout the weeks. In some weeks, according to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed by more than 450 million viewers.
SOUNDTRACK GEEK Review:
Wild America Theme’ by Neil Argo…. and it’s catchy, uplifting and very beautiful. Love it! Now that’s a theme. I love how inspirational it feels. Sure it’s confined and “small”, but the theme is majestic. I have a feeling me and Wild America are going to have some good times when I read the various cue titles. There are so many and so varied and I bet the music is as well.
KRONOS RECORDS Review
Kronos Records: P.J.  - Music by NEIL ARGO:
The music for P.J. was written by veteran composer Neil Argo (Wild America, MacGyver, Beverly Hills 90210) who penned an elegant jazz infused, very eclectic, dramatic score that provides the perfect ambiance for both the film and New York City, where the film was shot. A truly hidden gem. NOT TO BE MISSED!
TONY FARINELLA FOR 411 - Review
The film, “P.J.”, also has an incredible score by composer Neil Argo, which goes along well with the cast's fine, performances and the beauty of New York City. Needless to say, the two are a match made in movie heaven.
CLARK DOUGLAS FOR MOVIE MUSIC UK - Review
Reviewing the soundtrack.... “I am pleased to report that Mr. Argo's score for “PJ” is a hidden gem, one that I sincerely hope is made available to the public at some point. This intimate orchestral score was a very pleasant surprise, reminding me a little bit of the low-key work of Elmer Bernstein. The opening “P. J. Main Title” is a gorgeous (though brief) piece of music that hooked me immediately.”
RANDALL LARSON OF SOUNDTRACK.NET - Review
The main theme for SURVIVORS is a wonderful, richly orchestrated melody for a full ensemble of woodwinds, French horn, and violins over cello, while that for SAFARI is a muted synth and percussion dominated theme. The music throughout the CD is relaxing and absorbing, tranquil and persuasive.
STEVEN KENNEDY FOR FILM SCORE MONTHLY - Review
“P.J. proves to be a restrained and subtle backdrop for this intimate film. Argo’s score is a pleasure to listen to, made all the more so by the fine summarizing “End Title,” a beautiful piece of music in its own right.”
- Mihnea Manduteanu for SoundTrackDreams.com
-Reviewed by: Jørn Tillnes for SoundTrackGeek.com
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