Padma Newsome was born in Alice Springs, Australia in 1961. He trained as a concert violist in Sydney, touring throughout Australia, China and the Pacific. In the mid 1980's, he left classical performance to spend six years on an ashram in New South Wales where he taught yoga, studied Indian classical music and participated in the centre's musical activities. Newsome began formal studies in composition in the 1990's at the University of Adelaide and continued at Yale University on a Fulbright scholarship. His musical palette expresses colors of the modernist avant-garde, folk music from India and chamber music remnants along with energy of the pop/rock world. He composes for traditional large and small ensemble, the electro-acoustic medium, improvised chamber ensemble and music for dance, theatre and film. Padma resides in Mallacoota, Australia, where he mentors, teaches, and conducts the Mallacoota Choir.
Padma Newsome is the musical director and composer for Clogs, a new and improvising ensemble that has toured throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, and Canada. His repertoire for Clogs infuses contemporary classical music with the traditional rhythms and harmonies of folk music, driving energy of rock and ample room for improvisation. The ensemble was awarded the prestigious CMA/NEA Special Commissioning Award in 2003 in recognition of its achievements in the field of new and improvised chamber music, and has also received several residency grants from Chamber Music America. Clogs has released 4 albums featuring his compositions: Thom's Night Out (2001), Lullaby for Sue (2003), Stick Music (2004) and Lantern (2006) on the Brassland label. Their 5th album is in progress and will be released in 2009. The record features Newsome's new songs for Clogs plus guest vocalists and was composed during his residency in Ischia, Italy, made possible by a Commissioning and Residency award from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University in 2004/5.
In addition to his work with Clogs, Newsome is an orchestrator/arranger/violinist/ keyboardist with American rock band, The National. With the release of Boxer in 2007, The National became synonymous with a kind of gritty rock, fused with dark orchestrations. In his role as orchestrator/arranger, Padma has also mentored various "Indie" rock artists, such as Shara Worden and Johnny Rogers. His recent collaborations include: Daniel Helin (Belgium), Zachary Miskin (France) and The Devastations (Australia).
As a concert violist, he has performed with Sydney new music ensemble, the Seymour Group, Goossens String Quartet, Adelaide's Fresh Air, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, working under numerous conductors such as Sir Christopher Hogwood, Zdenek Macal, Sir Charles Makkerras, and Stuart Challender. He has performed throughout China, Fiji, the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Russia, Turkey, and Australia in venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House, Madison Square Gardens, Hollywood Bowl, The Famous Spiegeltent (Sydney Festival), Brighton Festival Dome, Royal Festival Hall for the London Jazz Festival, Toronto Opera House, MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, to New York City's Merkin Hall, Weill Hall Carnegie Hall, CBGB's, The Knitting Factory, and Bowery Ballroom, to name a few.
Newsome's music has been performed by ensembles such as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Melbourne, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Da Capo Chamber Players, Locrian Chamber Players and Clogs, and by soloists including clarinetist Evan Ziporyn (Bang on a Can), guitarist Bryce Dessner, violinists Katie Lansdale and Jennifer Choi, jazz cellist Erik Friedlander, and violists Paul McMillan and Georgina Grosvenor.
He is the recipient of six consecutive ASCAPLUS Awards, winner of 2008 Plug Awards, (Best Song, w/ The National), the 2004/05 Fromm Music Foundation Commissioning and Residency Award, and an Artists Fellowship from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (formerly CT Commission on the Arts). Other grants include: Australia Council for the Arts, Vermont Arts Council, Fulbright Post-graduate Award, Symphony Australia, Arts SA, Mallacoota Arts Council, Helpmann Academy, CMA Residency Partnership Program (with Clogs) and numerous private commissions.
Newsome was educated at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide University, and Yale University. His teachers have included Dr. Martin Bresnick, Dr. Joseph Schwanter, Pundit Ashok Roy, Alexandru Todicescu, Graeme Koehne, Eleanor Havda, and Dr. Evan Ziporyn.
Bio via ClogsMusic.com.