Neal D. Long (he/him/his) enjoys a diverse career as a singer, pianist, and educator. Originally from Nevada, Neal is now based in the greater Kansas City area. Neal currently serves as the Director of Education and Community Engagement at Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Music Director at Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church.
As a tenor, Neal has been described as “totally at ease” and providing a “sonorous tenor” (KC Arts Beat). His roles performed include Nemorino, Pedrillo, Ferrando, Bénédict, Candide, Valère in Mechem's Tartuffe, Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Laurie in Adamo’s Little Women. For his portrayal of Laurie with Opera in the Ozarks, Neal received the company award for Best Performance by a Male in a Leading Role. Concert credits include the tenor solos in Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Messiah.
A new music champion and enthusiast, Neal has premiered works by several composers. He sang the Voice of the Architect in Forrest Pierce's Resonant Vessels, a multi-location work celebrating architecture and place commissioned by the Spencer Museum of Art and The Burning Harp, an epic song-cycle also composed by Pierce. As co-founder and executive director of The Meadowlark Project, a vocal ensemble dedicated to contemporary works, Neal toured the Midwest with their recital program entitled Sounds of the Plains. The recital featured new art songs by Kansas-based composers using the texts of Kansas-based poets. Their most recent recital series, Changing the Tides, featured works by women composers and poets on topics of womanhood, mortality, and progress. In 2021, The Meadowlark Project premiered There Will Come Soft Rains by Allison McIntosh. Co-commissioned by the Spencer Museum of Art and Reach Out Kansas, the piece illuminates Sara Teasdale’s poem in conversation with the exhibition entitled Audubon in the Anthropocene. Audience members have described The Meadowlark Project as "powerful over a very wide landscape of emotions, places, memories, states of being," "breathtakingly beautiful," and "musically explosive."
With a particular interest in new American opera, Neal recorded the titular role in Frank Nawrot’s chamber podcast opera entitled Don Henry. Donning a new hat, Neal recently directed a double-bill production featuring the Kansas premiere of As One and the world premiere of Bonnie McLarty’s Snow Angel for the University of Kansas. In his role with Lyric Opera, Neal is a producer of the newly commissioned educational touring opera Sketchbook for Ollie which will visit Kansas City-area schools in fall 2022.
As a pianist, Neal frequently accompanies recitals and serves as a vocal coach. He has music directed productions such as Little Women, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Don Giovanni, Bye Bye Birdie, Oklahoma, Chess, and Newsies and was honored to work with Disney on a pilot production of Descendants.
A passionate educator, Neal maintains an active private voice studio and has taught at institutions including the University of Kansas and Missouri Western State University. He holds a BM in piano from the University of Nevada, Reno and both a MM and DMA in voice from the University of Kansas. His thesis was entitled “Songs of Nature and the Human Experience: A Performance Guide to Bonnie McLarty’s Weather-telling.” Additional areas of research include vocal music exploring LGTBQ+ topics and the process of learning and teaching contemporary repertoire.