Neil Halpern


Neil Halpern photo courtesy of Neil Halpern

Earshot Jazz would like to introduce you to our board members. They’re a group whose work often goes unnoticed by the broader public, but we value their expertise and their dedication to Earshot Jazz. This month, please meet Neil Halpern.

What is your name and board position?

Neil Halpern, general board member.

How long have you served on the Earshot Jazz board and please mention any other Earshot board positions you’ve held, if any?

I have been serving the Earshot Jazz board for the past four months.

What led you to join the Earshot Jazz board?

An old friend & work buddy—Gus Cardoso—was retiring and moving to Portugal. Besides work related activities, we’ve seen each other at Earshot events over the years, and I’ve always admired his sense of commitment and community service to something he was passionate about and genuinely enjoyed. Being the good citizen and organizational steward that he was, Gus sought a replacement for his seat and asked if I was interested in participating, to which I quickly said yes.

Tell us something you’re proud of that Earshot has achieved.

Several things: I like that early on, Earshot gave a stage and a voice to local and national women in the jazz community. I also think Earshot has been willing to take risks on emerging styles of jazz that are outside of the mainstream but are gaining a national following.

Tell us a little about your background (professional qualifications, job, interests, talents, etc.)?

I was drawn to the natural beauty of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in the ‘90s after having lived in San Diego. I started my career here as a professional engineer in acoustics, working on performance venues and recording studios, as well as general architectural and environmental sound projects. Eventually the siren call of the Seattle software industry lured me from the comfort of acoustics into the realm of software engineering, architecture and product development, where I’ve found myself ever since. I’ve served on several boards, including the Roosevelt Jazz Boosters, which provides financial support for its high school jazz program where several of my kids have played and also found their love of music. Although not an active musician, I’ve played in many orchestras and sung in many choirs over the years (just not recently).    

Times have been challenging especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. Are there any organizations or inspirational people you’d like to highlight that stood out to you?

Making it as a musician in Seattle is no small feat, so anyone who can follow their passion while sustaining themselves is an inspiration to me. There have been several teachers who have been instrumental to the musical success of my kids, especially Jim Sisko, Mark Taylor and Scott Brown, so I want to share my gratitude for their commitment to the Seattle jazz scene.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Jazz is an evolving art form, so I’m excited to see where Earshot goes with it in the coming years and thankful to be a part of its growing future.



Posted on

June 27, 2024