Contemporary composer Gene Newton has an interesting day job: he is Coordinator for Outreach, Education, and Training for the Help America Vote Act for the State of Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division. A former music and theater teacher for over two decades, Gene taught music and theater arts in Oregon and Washington. He taught public high school, directing concert choirs, symphonic choirs, jazz choirs and teaching courses in music technology. His jazz and choral ensembles were repeatedly awarded trophies and accolades at numerous competitions and festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest from 1982-1998. Newton changed careers in 1998 to afford him more time to devote to his composition and to his record label, NEZ Productions, which he started in 1993 with his first release.
Newton composes in his spare time, blending technical mastery with his innate creativity to create a distinctive, transcendent sound. He counts among his New Age musical influences Vangelis, Colin Chinn, Peter Buffett, Jean Michel Jarre, and Michael Gettel. "But there are many others I enjoy," he adds. "My favorite classical composers are Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Charles Ives, Chopin, and Stravinsky. I also love jazz and Broadway music. I really just let my soul do whatever music comes to it when I am composing; it is a very intuitive process that I try and stay out of the way of, at least I try and keep my ego out of the way."
Newton insists that every musical note he has ever heard has influenced his own compositions and style. While comparisons to others is natural, Newton has a uniqe style that is hard to pinpoint. Newton's first album, Celestial Plea, is dedicated to New Age seminar leader Wayne Dyer and is an ecclectic collection of compositions. Other celestial influences are obvious in Eternity, a musical journey through that realm, and Tarot: Music for Readings, a musical realization of the Carl Rohrig Tarot Deck. Elemental Suite, a musical interpretation of the elements, is the result of several years work and is his latest release.
Newton's music is difficult to classify into one genre. It easily crosses into several musical realms. It has elements of new age, jazz, orchestral, film, classical, electronic and space music. All four releases have received high praise and excellent reviews from many industry sources.