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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 1, 2007 Archive

Tommy Newsom, Dominick Argento, Liverwurst Sandwiches

Posted at 8:25 AM on May 1, 2007 by Rex Levang

News comes of the death of Tommy Newsom, who for a while was the backup bandleader on the Tonight Show. If he's not quite as memorable as Skitch Henderson or Doc Severinsen, it might be because of his purposely bland persona, which led Johnny Carson to dub him "Mr. Excitement."

Like so many musicians in the pop world, he had a solid classical training, from Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory, among other places, and even makes a brief appearance in Dominick Argento's memoir, "Catalog Raisonne":

But mostly, I think my fond memories of Baltimore have to do with the camaraderie of fellow students--Peter DeLone, Jack Hutton, Al Rosenthal, Tommy Newsome [sic], Wally Kramer--all of us crowded into a booth at the neighborhood grill from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every evening, bottles of Budweiser, liverwurst sandwiches, and endless discussions about music, old and new, good and bad. I was much happier and more fulfilled professionally at Rochester, but it was in Baltimore that I felt wonderfully carefree and enjoyed sociability, joyfulness, and fun. Or am I merely confusing that with youth?

Should Bill hold still?

Posted at 2:45 PM on May 1, 2007 by Don Lee

When conductor William Eddins "wiggles his bum," it gets 'em talking in Alberta. In a concert a few weeks ago in Edmonton, he didn't exercise enough restraint for at least one member of the audience, who complained to the local paper. Others rushed to Eddins' defense, and now the story is being picked up on this side of the border.

Eddins is in his fourth season as music director of the Edmonton Symphony. He moved to Canada from Minneapolis, where he headed the Prospect Park Players for seven years and also served as Minnesota Orchestra associate conductor.

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