2017-06-22 / Around Town

SPOTLIGHT on Music

Oscar Winner Previn Opens New Music Series
By Mark Gorman


Composer Andre Previn, winner of four Academy Awards and 10 Emmy Awards, will be the featured performer at the opening of the Newport Contemporary Music Series. Composer Andre Previn, winner of four Academy Awards and 10 Emmy Awards, will be the featured performer at the opening of the Newport Contemporary Music Series. The sizzling Newport summer music scene just got hotter. Beside the long-running and internationally renowned Newport Music Festival, the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival, there is a new, ambitious music festival, called the Newport Contemporary Music Series, which will launch its inaugural season on July 1. For opening night, they’re bringing the great Andre Previn to town.

Make no mistake, this is no small undertaking. Recently, Newport This Week spoke with series founder and Portsmouth native Paul Van Anglen about the new music series. A few years ago, when Van Anglen established the nonprofit Newport Contemporary Arts, his vision was three-fold. First, he wanted to create an orchestra of 90 professional musicians, with some college students mixed in. Second, he commissioned a wide variety of composers, with the aim of creating hands-on experiences for music students. Last, he wanted to hold a series of concerts to further the appreciation of contemporary music.


Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. “The orchestra is comprised of professionals, both local and from across the U.S., brought together with the common goal of creating a professional and exciting atmosphere, of playing a vast repertoire of music and of motivating these great artists to pursue their professional music careers in Rhode Island,” he said.

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, local violinist and co-founder of the Newport String Project, is excited to be playing in the music series. “There is an amazing lineup of composers, pieces and musicians and such a variety of music within the contemporary genre. I’m really looking forward to being part of this music-making gathering,” she said.

The list of musicians and composers coming to Newport this summer is exemplary. The July 1 opening concert will feature Previn, a multiple Grammy and Academy Award winner, who will unveil the world premiere of a piece especially written for this series. When Van Anglen was asked how he was able to entice the legendary Previn to participate, he said, “He was very interested from the first time we approached him. He came up with a piece, 'Almost An Overture,’ which he’ll premiere at Rogers High School.”

Celebrated pianist Melanie Dalibert will also perform the American premier of French composer Gerard Pesson’s “Future is a Faded Song.” Other featured performers will include soloists from the Contemporary Ensemble, electronics specialist Gilbert Nuono, world-renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass and Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore. The season will conclude on Aug. 12 with a special tribute to composer John Williams.

For tickets and more information, visit ncmsri.com.

To Go

When: Saturday, July 1, 8-10:30 p.m.
Where: Rogers High School, 15 Wickham Road
Admission: $25-$112

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