Neil Manel Frau-Cortes (Ciutat de Mallorca, 1965) is a scholar, musician, writer, and ritual leader. Author of numerous articles and books, Frau-Cortes has a PhD in Medieval Hebrew Literature (University of Girona, 2012), Master in Library and Information Science (University of Maryland, 2018), Lic. in Hebrew Linguistics (Central University of Barcelona, 1996), MA in Cantorial Studies and Jewish Music (Gratz College, 2010), and ordination in hazzanut (Reconstr. Rabbinical College, 2010). He is an alumnus of Mallorca's Professional Conservatory and Taller de Musics of Barcelona, where he focused on composition as well as classical and jazz piano.
As an educator, Neil Manel Frau-Cortes taught music theory, piano improvisation and harmony at Adagio, Rock’n’Jazz and Allegretto music schools (Barcelona), and Bela Bartok (Mallorca). He tutored guitar at Gratz College in Philadelphia, taught Hebrew language at the Harrisburg Area Community College, and music at the Silver Academy Yeshiva of Harrisburg PA. He is currently working as Hebraica, Judaica and metadata cataloger at the University of Maryland
Neil M. Frau-Cortes’ musical career as a composer, arranger, producer and performer is extensive and covers a variety of styles, from folk to liturgical music, kirtan, jazz-fusion, and Ethnic-roots New Age electronica. To mention a few, he has played with Caliu (together with Francesca Patinyo), Circumstancial, Tradivarius, Cafè Soul, Orquestra Malpàs, Trio del Pol Magnètic and Esplendor Barroco (with the late clarinetist Rafel Adrover), and has collaborated with Avi Benchamo, Jill Pakman, Shefia Cohen, Jessi Roemer, and many others. He composes choir and chamber music, soundtracks for short films (like Drop Plot, 1993), as well as music for theater plays (Memòria d’en Julià by Iguana Teatre, Una Noche Contigo by Haché).
As a cantor, Frau-Cortes has lead services in Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist synagogues through the US and Catalonia. He currently offers lecture-recitals on diverse aspects of Sephardic music, Kabbalah, chanting, and meditation, having participated in events such as the Albuquerque's Sephardic Festival, several Nehirim events, and the Society for Crypto-Jewish Studies convention, among others.
Frau-Cortes' research deals with the works of Simeon ben Zemach Duran, the literature of Polemics, medieval Judaism in the Crown of Aragon, the Catalan nusach and its derivatives, early kabbalistic writings (particularly related to the school of Girona), and digital humanities applied to Jewish studies.