Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo: 40th Anniversary Retrospective

Friday, January 19, 2018, at 7:30 PM

Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York City

World renowned for phenomenal musicianship, matchless technique, and extraordinary stylistic breadth, celebrating 40 years of performing together

“Extremely deft and musically satisfying; wonderfully fresh.” — Soundboard


Hailed as a “revelation to hear” by The Washington Post and celebrating their 40th anniversary season, the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo perform a broad range of repertoire that spans baroque and classical works to Spanish and Latin American rhythms. Their innovative programming, matchless technique and ensemble precision, combined with their commitment to expanding the repertoire for guitar duo, make Newman & Oltman a widely recognized and influential ensemble both in the US and abroad. In addition to their phenomenal musicianship, they are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of guitar players through their many educational endeavors.

Newman and Oltman’s concert tours have taken them to world cultural capitals and premiere venues across five continents. The Duo has demonstrated extraordinary stylistic breadth in their collaborations with such diverse artists as Pulitzer Prize-winner author Frank McCourt, composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, fiddler Eileen Ivers, pianist Clarice Assad, violinist Tim Fain, and the ETHEL, Calder, and Turtle Island string quartets.

One of their most recent commissions, Concierto Buenos Aires composed for them by Nuevo Tango Master Daniel Binelli, was brilliantly performed by Newman & Oltman in its world premiere with the l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Reims in France. Following on the success of the works French debut, the Duo “charmed the Ferguson audience with phenomenal musicianship” (Gazette Journal) when they performed it with the Virginia Symphony. International engagements included performances and lectures at the Academic Guitar Symposium (Brazil), the International Guitar Symposium Iserlohn (Germany), Estate Musicale Frentana/Lanciano International Guitar Seminar and the Volterra Guitar Project (Italy). The Duo will continue serving as co-artistic directors of the Lanciano International Guitar Seminar in 2017.

Champions of new music, Newman & Oltman have built a unique repertoire of works for two guitars by leading and emerging composers such as Paul Moravec, Augusta Read Thomas, Lowell Liebermann, Dušan Bogdanovic, Arthur Kampela, and Roberto Sierra. Plans for future commissions include a new work by Leo Brouwer dedicated to the Duo.

Their artistry has also been captured on nearly a dozen critically acclaimed recordings, including Songs of Spain, Laments and Dances: Music from the Folk Traditions with the Turtle Island Quartet, Sally Rogers and Jay Unger, Tango Suite! Romance for Two Guitars and Christmas Pastorale: 600 Years of Carols, Chorales, Preludes and Pastorales on Two Guitars. Fanfare Magazine hailed the Duo’s CD, Music from Raritan River as “top notch” and “a winner all around.” The recording features a collection of world premieres commissioned by the duo over the past decade. Their recordings uniformly garner critical praise: “A reference standard” (Billboard), “Their duet recordings reveal a finely blended sound and true unity of timbre and style” (The New York Times), “…beautifully realized performances” (Guitar Player Magazine).

Newman & Oltman’s contributions to the world of music have been recognized by grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and other national and international organizations, including an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

The Duo has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at New York’s Mannes College since 1987. They are artistic advisors to the D’Addario Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and recently served as Artists-in-Residence at Lafayette College. Michael and Laura are founders and artistic directors of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes, the Lanciano International Guitar Seminar in Italy and Raritan River Concerts and Raritan River Music Festival, which celebrates its 27th year this season. Keith Calmes (Seen and Heard International) wrote “Newman & Oltman should be commended for their enduring festival, stellar students, dedication to contemporary works and sheer artistic greatness.”

Drawing upon their artistic and creative experiences, Newman & Oltman have designed an entrepreneurial program offering marketing advice and practical tools on ways to compete and succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. They have been invited to a number of educational institutions to present their vision which engages the participants in the discussion.

Michael Newman currently serves on the faculties of Mannes College and The College of New Jersey. Laura Oltman serves on the faculties of Princeton University and Lafayette College.

Newman & Oltman play Thomas Humphrey Pre-Millennium guitars (1978, 1981) and use D’Addario EXP46C Composite Coated and Titanium Treble High Tension strings.

Photos: Left (1977) by Gregory Cross. Right by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.