Robert Newell (1940-2019) was known internationally both as composer and conductor. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois. While at Tanglewood on various occasions, he studied with Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, with conductors Eric Leinsdorf and Charles Munch. Robert was twice a Fulbright grantee—first to Paris, where he studied two years under Olivier Messiaen, then again as conductor and lecturer in South America during the 1980's and 90's. His prize-winning work, Ryo-nen, was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra in 1986.
In the Years that followed Dr. Newell toured major cities of South America to conduct orchestras and lecture on 20th century music—again under the auspices of Fulbright and of Arts America (USIA). Recent honors include a fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, grants from Ohio University and from “Arts International” for promotion of his orchestral works, along with the Ohioana Library Association’s coveted “Music Citation.” Still more recently Rob was named winner of the International FAI Anthem competition. For such historical, musical contributions he was acclaimed by the Ohio Senate as “a remarkable and unique” individual. His works have been published by American Composers Edition, Boston Music Co., Hinshaw Publishers, and Media Press. Recordings of his music may be heard on Capstone and Advance labels. Dr. Newell is available for guest appearances as lecturer, conductor, and clinician.
He served as an artist/teacher at the University of Illinois, California State University, Chapman College and Composer in Residence at Ohio University. He served as Music Director at various churches in Albuquerque, NM, Summerville, SC, Clearwater, FL and Naples, FL where his compositions of sacred works were often featured. Robert was also a talented singer touring professionally with such groups as The Desert Chorale in Santa Fe, NM.
Born in 1940 in Illinois, Dr. Newell passed away on July 4, 2019 in Naples, FL.