Cellist Newman Moves Beyond Mere Playing

[Newman] makes the case for composition and performance as being activities that are intimately bound up with each other. More than that, the music he writes obviously grows directly out of his experience as a cellist. It flatters his distinctive talent and draws on his technique as a virtuoso to make its point. For a listener, it creates a picture of an integrated and wholly engaged musical imagination.

That portrait was fully supported by the standard works on the program. Newman, the 2001 winner of the Naumburg Competition, plays with an intensity and fervor most soloists could only envy.

His string tone is robust but sweet, with a commanding dynamic range and superb rhythmic control. In lyrical passages -- most memorably in the slow movements of both the Barber and the Brahms F-Major sonatas -- he shapes a phrase with unerring ease and grace.

And in Chopin's "Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante," Newman's technical mastery proved entirely dazzling.

Joshua Kossman, San Francisco Chronicle
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