Conductor • Harpsichord • Organ
• Born 1941
Often appears with
While Anthony Newman has worn many hats on the musical stage, he is best known as an organist, especially for his interpretations of the works of Bach. In recent years, he has attracted considerable attention as a fortepianist; his 1989 recording of the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto received a Recording of the Year award from Stereo Review. He has concertized widely, often performing his own works, and has recorded for many labels, with about 140 total releases by the end of the twentieth century.
Newman demonstrated remarkable musical talent in his childhood, and as a teen studied piano in Paris with Alfred Cortot and composition with Nadia Boulanger. He also took instruction on organ from Pierre Cochereau. Upon completion of his studies in France he received a Diplôme Supérieur from the École Normale de Musique, which carried special recognition from Cortot. Newman returned to the United States in the late 1950s and enrolled at the Mannes College of Music, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1962.
Up to this point, Newman's musical education had largely been centered upon the keyboard, but in the early 1960s he began to focus more on composition, taking up studies with Leon Kirchner and Luciano Berio at Harvard University. But he also continued his efforts in the keyboard realm, working with pianist Edith Oppens. In 1963 he graduated from Harvard with a master's degree, and shortly afterward enrolled at Boston University for further study. After receiving his doctorate (1966) from that institution, he gave his first major concert when he appeared at Carnegie Hall with a pedal harpsichord recital. Newman joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1968. He also turned his attention to conducting, at first serving as an assistant to Noah Greenburg, director of the New York Pro Musica choral ensemble, and then founding his own period-instrument group, the Brandenburg Collegium.
In 1973, Newman left Juilliard and two years later joined the faculty at the State University of New York at Purchase. He taught master classes at the Indiana University School of Music from 1978 to 1981. During these years he remained active as a soloist and conductor -- and as a composer. On October 26, 1979, his Violin Concerto was premiered in Indianapolis. In the 1980s, Newman made numerous appearances on the concert and recital stages and turned out a spate of recordings as his multiplicity of talents won him wide public recognition. Two major compositions appeared toward the latter part of the decade, his 1987 Symphony for Strings and Percussion and his Sinfonia: On Fallen Heroes (1988).
By the 1990s, Newman was easily among the best-known organists in the world, and his efforts on the fortepiano and harpsichord were garnering accolades as well. He appeared as soloist in his Organ Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony in the work's February 1994 premiere. Newman has recorded for numerous record labels over the years, including Sony, Infinity Digital, Albany, Vox, Helicon, and Newport Classic. He has guest conducted many important ensembles, typically showing a preference for the chamber-sized groups such as the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He remains active as a composer in many genres, including vocal, piano, and chamber music. He is currently music director at St. Matthew's Church in Bedford, New York. Newman is also the founder of Hands On Outreach, a White Plains (N.Y.) organization that helps the poor.