News & Events

John Newell, composer and pianist, to perform at UMPI

Live classical music returns to the University of Maine at Presque Isle with some contemporary twists when composer and pianist John Newell performs in the Campus Center on Wednesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free concert by the Lubec-based musician.

Newell’s performance, American Landscapes, will include the works of Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, George Gershwin, Philip Glass, and a new work by University of Maine at Fort Kent faculty member and fellow composer Scott Brickman. Newell, who will also perform one of his own original works, said he chose this particular program to represent the wide range of musical styles in American music during the past 100 years.

Right now, his program is slated to include Excursions by Samuel Barber, Thoreau (4th movement of the Concord Sonata) by Charles Ives, Three Pieces for Piano by Morton Feldman, Three Preludes by George Gerswhin, Mad Rush by Philip Glass, the piece by Scott Brickman, and Newell’s own Variations on Amazing Grace.

Newell was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Duke University and earned his M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts. He completed his formal musical training at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he studied with Morton Feldman. While in Buffalo, he held the first Edgard Varese Fellowship in composition, earning his Ph.D. in composition in 1979.

Newell is what you might call a contemporary classical composer. Like many composers today, though, he draws upon a variety of musical traditions. He has composed a wide variety of works for vocal ensembles, chamber groups and orchestra and has received a number of commissions from professional and amateur groups. His works have received support from the American Music Center, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Meet the Composer. More information about his works is available at his web site: johnnewellmusic.com.

Newell is also experienced as a pianist, conductor and teacher. Currently, he works with the SummerKeys program in Lubec, Maine, offers music classes at the Cobscook Community Learning Center, and directs the music for St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Machias. He and his wife Linda Courtney moved to Lubec last June. They are very thankful to be living in such a beautiful part of this world.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 768-9452.