Pianist and composer, John Newell, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He attended Duke University, pursuing studies in composition, piano and conducting. He also studied at the Yale Summer School of Music in Norfolk, Connecticut. John earned an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts; his primary teachers there were pianist Leonid Hambro and composer Mel Powell. John completed his formal 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, and received his Ph.D in 1979. He was active as a performer with the June in Buffalo program, working directly with composers such as Steve Reich and George Crumb.
John is an experienced soloist, accompanist and conductor. His particular interest naturally has been in the modern repertoire, and he has participated in a number of premiere performances. In 2003 he performed the solo part in the premiere of his Concerto for Piano & Orchestra with the Enid Symphony Orchestra (Oklahoma). John has received commissions from professional ensembles around the country as well as a variety of amateur groups. His work has 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).
As a teacher John has worked successfully with students and musicians of all ages and ability levels. A year-round resident of Eastport, Maine, he teaches privately and serves as music director for Christ Church. He is also an experienced choral conductor and is the founding director of Eastport’s community chorus, Quoddy Voices.