With being compared to Duke Ellington, Kenny Kirkland, and Maurice Ravel by The New York Times, Harold O'Neal FRSA (pianist, producer, speaker, social entrepreneur), has marked his place among this generation's greatest pianists and composers. He has been profiled and featured in multiple publications and programs, including Forbes, NPR's All Things Considered, The New Yorker, Fortune Magazine, and the 92nd St Y: 7 Days Of Genius series. He has been granted fellowship to the Royal Society of the Arts, with
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a patron, and recently played a role as a creative expert for Pixar's Academy Award winning film, Soul – with his stories being a resource to the filmmaking process.
"A piece of work that seems to be out there on its own. I have an idea where the music comes from, but I’m not hearing it anywhere else."
BEN RATLIFF, The New York Times
As a music producer, O'Neal has worked with various artists, including Busta Rhymes, Miguel, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc, Damien Rice, Ne-Yo, Jay Z, and was a featured artist and music arranger for Amnesty International's "Electric Burma", a live televised DVD concert featuring U2 and Bob Geldof.
As a speaker and social entrepreneur, Harold has shared his voice with leaders in innovation, including TIME, Salesforce, The Future Of StoryTelling, Google, McKinsey & Company, United Nations Ambassadors, Salesforce, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and The World Economic Forum at Davos. Currently, Harold has a slew of projects in production, including producing his next jazz album (2023), producing and scoring an untitled feature length film with an Academy Award winning director (2024), and founding a global social entrepreneurship initiative with Paul Propster, Chief Strategist and Story Architect of NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.
"In addition to O’Neal’s spontaneity, he’s one of the most distinctive, creative, insightful musicians at work today.”
ROB WOLCOTT, Forbes
I’d like to share a bit of magic. As 2020— a challenging and opportunity-charged year— wound down, I was blessed by a Zoom trialogue with Pixar co-founder and former President of Disney Animation Studios Ed Catmull. We explored storytelling, virtual reality, personal responsibility— and how the universe intervenes. ROB WOLCOTT
Harold O’Neal has the charmed life of a lauded musician, composer, actor and busy speaker focusing on the creative process. He’s performed with U2, Jay Z, and appeared as a piano playing hepcat on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
But he tells a story of the night he nearly died, as a reminder to himself and others that the past only has the power to define you if you let it. ELLEN MCGIRT
In other words, the record swings: a major plus for an unpretentious, accessible, this-is-who-I-am kind of record. On the other hand, “Whirling Mantis” comes with ideas, because Mr. O’Neal can write. BEN RATLIFF
A few hundred years ago, classical pianists would impress audiences by improvising cadenzas in the middle of a concerto — riffing, we would say today. Now improvisation is firmly in the realm of jazz. But a new record called Marvelous Fantasy explores the connection between jazz and classical improvisation. It’s by the 30-year-old jazz pianist Harold O’Neal. KURT ANDERSON
My guest is Harold O'Neal. He's a kick boxer, a Rubik's cube champion, a B-boy dancer. Most importantly, he is a jazz pianist, and his new album is a collection of pieces for solo piano. It's called "Marvelous Fantasy." GUY RAZ
Harold O'Neal's Whirling Mantis is named for a defensive move in karate. The martial-arts reference suggests one way to look at how O'Neal's music operates: The players react to each other's moves, deflecting one another in stylized interaction. KEVIN WHITEHEAD