Musicians leave lasting impression

Jaclyn Moses

Artists-in-Residency wrap up time at Lafayette

Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

guitarduo

Since September, Laura Oltman, Michael Newman, and Artists-in-Residency Alan and Wendy Pesky, have attended music classes with students and have given performances for the entire community. The Newman and Oltman Guitar Duo has been showcasing their classical music around the world for over 30 years and as the semester winds down, the group will give their final performances at Lafayette.

The duo will collaborate with other members of the Lafayette community. On April 26, they will perform with the Lafayette Choir at the Chateau. On May 7, the Newman and Oltman Guitar Duo will accompany student dancers in the Dance as an Art Form Final Recital. Choreographer-in-Residence, Ben Munisteri, will present the recital. In their final performance on May 7, the duo will perform with the Marquis Consort for their second time since the beginning of their residency, playing Celtic music at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Newman and Oltman first met in college, and officially began sharing their love of music at the Aspen Music Festival. The duo has been married for 33 years.

This is not the first time Newman and Oltman have done a residency on Lafayette’s campus. Ten years ago, from 2003-2004, the duo first shared their talent with our community.

“Last time we did it, our concert was in collaboration with an author named Frank McCourt, who was Irish,” Oltman said. “He had written a book called Angela’s Ashes…it was about his growing up in Ireland. We played a piece that we had commissioned that was Irish themed, and then he read from his book in between the movements of the piece.”

This time around, the duo had other noteworthy experiences.

“Our concert that we played at the William Center [in February] was great,” Oltman said. “We shared it with a violinist named Timothy Fain who is younger than us. He does a lot of work in Hollywood.”

Fain has played on many film scores, including Twelve Years a Slave and Black Swan.

Newman and Oltman also attended a number of classes, the most memorable one being taught by Professor Jorge Torres, Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Marquis Consort, about the influence of Latin American music on North American composers.

“Guitar fits really nicely into Latin culture in general,” Oltman said. “A lot of the music you play, if you play classical guitar, is from Latin America.” Newman and Oltman’s own music takes a unique spin on classical pieces.

“You don’t always have to like everything,” Oltman said. “I think when you listen to new music you just take it in and decide later. That’s the way it’s always been done, like with any kind of art.”

After completing their residency at Lafayette, Newman and Oltman will be traveling to Italy, where they started up a music festival of their own. They were also invited to perform at a festival in Germany. During the duo’s last few weeks on campus, students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to experience Newman and Oltman’s unique artistry.