The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo
Hailed as a “revelation to hear” by The Washington Post, the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo’s phenomenal musicianship places them solidly at the top of their field. Their innovative programming, matchless technique and ensemble precision, combined with their commitment to expanding the repertoire for guitar duo, make them a chamber ensemble of world renown.
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 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.
Highlights of recent and upcoming performances include the world premiere of Concierto Buenos Aires composed for the Duo by Nuevo Tango Master Daniel Binelli with l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Reims in France. Following on the success of the Concierto’s French debut the Duo “charmed the Ferguson audience with phenomenal musicianship” (Gazette Journal) when they performed it with the Virginia Symphony. Last season their international travels included a performance and lecture at the VI Academic Guitar Symposium in Curita, Brazil. Summer 2013 brought Newman & Oltman to several Italian venues, which included a performance and master class at the Estate Musicale Frentana/Lanciano International Guitar Seminar. They also performed and taught at the Volterra Guitar Project and were the featured performers at Rocca Sillana in San Dalmazio. Other appearances include the University of Wisconsin, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Iserlohn Germany International Guitar Symposium.
Through their groundbreaking new music-commissioning program, 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 Bogdanović, Arthur Kampela, and Roberto Sierra. Fanfare Magazine hailed the Duo’s latest 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 artistry has also been captured on nearly a dozen other acclaimed recordings, including Songs of Spain (BMG), Laments and Dances: Music from the Folk Traditions (Music Masters) with the Turtle Island Quartet, Sally Rogers and Jay Unger, Tango Suite! Romance for Two Guitars (Music Masters) and Christmas Pastorale: 600 Years of Carols, Chorales, Preludes and Pastorales on Two Guitars (Musical Heritage Society). 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 the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
The Duo has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at New York’s Mannes College The New School of Music since 1987. They are artistic advisors to the D’Addario Foundation Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and are the 2013-2014 Alan and Wendy Pesky Artists-in-Residence at Lafayette College.
Michael and Laura are founders and artistic directors of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes (www.mannesguitar.com), the new Lanciano International Guitar Seminar in Italy (www.lancianoguitar.com) and Raritan River Concerts and Raritan River Music Festival (www.RaritanRiverMusic.org), which marks its 25th year this season. Guitarist and author Keith Calmes wrote in Seen & Heard International: “they should be commended for their enduring festival, stellar students, dedication to contemporary works-and sheer artistic greatness.”
Michael Newman, a graduate of Mannes College of Music, currently serves on the guitar and chamber music faculty. Laura Oltman serves on the faculties of Princeton University and Lafayette College.