Location: Maine, USA
John Newell was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1949. His earliest musical training was in piano. He attended Duke University, pursuing studies in composition, piano and conducting; he graduated summa cum laude in 1971. John moved west to attend California Institute of the Arts (1971 - 1973), earning an M.F.A. in composition and performance. His primary teacher at CalArts was composer Mel Powell. He 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 completed his Ph.D. in composition in 1979.
Like many composers today John finds inspiration in a variety of musical traditions. His objective, though, is to create works that are unmistakably his own, that arise from his personal spiritual journey and response to the world. Information about his works, including sample score pages and audio clips, is available at his web site:
John is director of Quoddy Voices, a community choral ensemble in Eastport, Maine. Their first concert took place in June, 2014. John directed the junior and senior high choral program at Mt. Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He has also taught piano, composition and music theory and for over twenty years was organist and music director for the First Congregational Church of Worthington, Massachusetts. He is now director of music for St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Machias, Maine. John has completed a number of commissions for professional and amateur groups. His work has received support from the American Music Center, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Meet the Composer. His works are self-published through Abierto Music.