Discipline: Music Composition

Billy Newman

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2007, 2008, 2024

Billy Newman is a composer of many works for jazz and Brazilian Instrumental ensembles. His music celebrates the lives and mourns the passing of so many who were close to him working through many musical genres of jazz and Brazilian music – choro, samba, baiao, polyrhythmic expressions, and contrafacts based on great classic repertoire. He is a musical portraitist.

An active guitarist, Newman recently toured four cities in Brazil playing his original music. He has five of his own recordings available, is an author on Alfred music (Guitar Atlas: Brazil) and has given numerous workshops in Choro and Jazz music in NYC and various Brazilian cities. In the last years he has extended himself into writing for chamber orchestra and various sized chamber groups.

At MacDowell in 2007, Newman completed a set of choros, sambas, and baiaos that were performed on a tour in the south of Brazil in 2008. He also completed a number of original jazz compositions for use with his quintet. In 2008, he composed eight choros (a Brazilian genre of instrumental music), completed two jazz waltzes, and two polyrhythmic compositions for jazz ensemble.

During his 2024 residency at MacDowell, Newman wrote a series of compositions to be performed by a jazz ensemble and for his Brazilian group. He tackled the genre of Frevo from the Northeast of Brazil and added to his repertoire of valsas and choros. He also started a project in memory of his sister, the Feminist writer and teacher Kathy Miriam, sketching various themes. He is engaged in a jazz pedagogy project using the "Bach Project" CAC composition program and worked on his "enclosure" patch at MacDowell, finding various new capabilities to efficiently translate his experiments with shapes built on pentatonics through harmonic structures.


Irving Fine

Billy Newman worked in the Irving Fine studio.

Youngstown Studio was given to MacDowell by friends of Miss Myra McKeown in Youngstown, OH, where she promoted both art and music. It was renamed Irving Fine Studio in 1972 in honor of Irving Fine, a distinguished composer, conductor, and teacher who was a MacDowell Fellow during the 1940s and 1950s. The simple interior of the studio…

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