Nathan Newbrough’s sound advice 

click to enlarge Newbrough with daughter Sarah. - MARIE NEWBROUGH
  • Marie Newbrough
  • Newbrough with daughter Sarah.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic President & CEO Nathan Newbrough’s early career included a stint at the House of Blues in Chicago, where he worked for the venue’s talent buyer and box office. It was there that he first worked with well-known talents, including Pete Townsend, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and, yes, the Insane Clown Posse. He really liked it, but his true love is working with symphony orchestras. For the past 20 years, he’s done that, in various capacities, for orchestras in Washington, D.C., Manhattan, Brooklyn, upstate New York, Amarillo and since 2008, here in the Springs. We caught up with Newbrough recently to find out about some of his favorite music.

My latest online discovery: NewMusicBox.org. This site from New Music USA is witty, current, relevant and focused utterly on what’s next in music composition. If there’s a next Leonard Bernstein, you’ll see her here first.

Essential Saturday night listening: On many Saturday nights, I’ll be listening to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic live at the Pikes Peak Center, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The repertoire is curated by our music director, Josep Caballé-Domenech, and you just don’t get any better than these musicians. On those rare nights with no performance, my listening is varied, to say the least. Radiohead’s Kid A is a standby, but so is Emmylou Harris’ “Moon Song” from the album All I Intended to Be. There are more, of course, and if I looked for a common thread, it would be that authenticity means everything. From the Philharmonic to John Prine, these are real musicians putting real love into what they do.

First record I bought with my own money: At age 7, circa 1981, I borrowed a record of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” from the library in Manteo, North Carolina. Super cool kid, right? I played it on my plastic turntable over and over, loving the distorted psychedelic intro and the lyrics, which I didn’t (and still don’t) understand. All I knew was that it wasn’t disco. I never returned the record, so let’s consider that a purchase.

Artist more people should know about: Lou Harrison. Some music just catches you by surprise, and the music of American composer Lou Harrison is that way. Look up his Piano Concerto and give it a whirl. Find a quiet space, a good stereo, turn off your phone, and listen straight through. The first two movements are a frenetic, racing setup for the slow third movement, which is the real surprise. And the payoff. After all that energy, it’s an unbelievably blissed-out daydream. Seriously, do yourself a favor.

Guilty pleasure: Journey. When I’m in the car with the family, we’re most likely to play the Greatest Hits, shout-singing with the stereo turned up to eleven. Journey is like bluegrass. It’s just impossible to be sad when you’re belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’.”


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