The Composer Himself... Biography – Josh Newton

Born in Quincy, Mass in 1978, Josh spent most of his formative years in the Mount Washington Valley in Conway, NH skiing and mountain climbing. He took over the directorship of the Mount Washington Valley Band in 1996, a band he had played in since he was 11. In 1997, he began attending the University of Southern Maine studying Music Education when he began composing under the influence of Scott Harris, Bruce Fithian and Peter Martin. In 1999, he left school to start a family with his wife Jennifer, working as a programming analyst and composing on the side.

Returning to USM in 2006 to start working towards his advanced degrees, he shifted his focus to composing and musicology, studying linguistics, mythology and analysis of various art forms and their relation to music. He earned his BA in 2009 and stayed at USM to for his Masters Degree, completing it in 2011.

As a composer, he has a reputation for writing quickly. Performances of his work have been given by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Ethel String Quartet and the Da Capo Chamber Players. He has been featured at the Back Cove Contemporary Music Festival, New Music at Frontiers, the Aspen Composers Conference and the Portland Chamber Music Festival. With a diverse academic background, he has presented papers on Beethoven, Debussy, Monty Python, Tolkien, and Henryk Górecki. He has a reputation for writing quickly, and his works have a deeply emotional character. His vocal works include settings of texts by Paul Celan, Liu Xiaobao, Anna Akhmatova, Hilda Doolittle, French fairytales, and religious texts.

On top of his active composing and performance schedule, Josh works full time as a computer programmer. He lives with his wife and son, a gaggle of cats and a puppy near a beautiful stream and a lousy driveway and writes frequently about composition and music at http://www.newtonmusic.com/blog.