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Stamford Resident Leads Bedford Chamber Series With Masterful Melodies

Tony Newman, Music Director for the Bedford Chamber Concerts.
Tony Newman, Music Director for the Bedford Chamber Concerts. Photo Credit: Cari Delahanti

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Anthony Newman has been described by Wynton Marsalis as "the high priest of Bach," and by Time Magazine as "the high priest of the harpsichord." In Bedford, however, the Stamford resident is much more humble, going by "Tony" and known as the Bedford Chamber Concerts Music Director.

Though he spends many months on the road performing in various venues -- and on multiple instruments (he plays the piano, harpsichord and organ) -- when he's home he's deep into both composing music for the Bedford series and in mentoring and promoting young artists. He recently worked with Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana who in October performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D, using a 1697 “Rainville” Stradivarius loaned to the violinist by the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

What's wonderful about the series, which some Westchester residents may not know about, is that it offers Lincoln Center quality musicians without the travel hassle, said Newman. Plus, he added, the acoustics in the intimate Fellowship Hall of St. Matthews Church in Bedford are "extremely kind to music."

In its 15th series, the Bedford Chamber does all kinds of unusual larger works like Mozart and Beethoven symphonies, he said.

Newman also likes that he can test his own musical compositions on the crowd before taking them on the road to a larger audience.

He is particularly known for his masterful performances of Bach, and this year’s holiday concert on Wednesday, Dec. 9 will once again feature Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

Newman has performed these concertos at least 20 times during his career. “Bach writes more notes per square inch than any other composer,” he said.

Instead of using horn players, Newman will focus on the trumpet section. “I go with the instruments I can rely on,” he said. “Bach set movements from Concerto Number Two in another work, using trumpets rather than horns.”

If you can't make December, mark March on your calendar when on March 16, Newman will play an all-Bach keyboard program, featuring the Goldberg Variations. Normally played slowly, Newman promises to play them fast. One unique feature will be a “Chromatic Fantasia,” consisting of a video played during the concert to accompany the music.

All concerts are performed at St. Matthew’s Church, 382 Cantitoe Street, Bedford. with ticket prices that range from $35 to $40. For more information visit www.bedfordchamberconcerts.org/ or call (914) 522-5150.

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