John Newmark | The Canadian Encyclopedia


John Newmark

John (Hans Joseph) Newmark (Neumark). Pianist, accompanist, chamber musician, b Bremen, Germany, 12 Jun 1904, naturalized Canadian 1946, d Montreal, 14 Oct 1991; honorary D MUS (McGill) 1975.

Newmark, John

John (Hans Joseph) Newmark (Neumark). Pianist, accompanist, chamber musician, b Bremen, Germany, 12 Jun 1904, naturalized Canadian 1946, d Montreal, 14 Oct 1991; honorary D MUS (McGill) 1975. Born into a family which cultivated music and painting, he studied piano 1912-19 in Bremen with Karl Boerner and 1920-1 in Leipzig with Anni Eisele. At 17 he auditioned in Berlin for Coenraad V. Bos, the noted accompanist, who predicted a brilliant future for him. He was urged to tour in Europe and America, but his father sent him to study drawing in Dresden where, in 1925, he met the violinist Szymon Goldberg with whom he gave recitals. In 1929 he returned to Bremen and soon began to devote himself entirely to music. With the cellist August Wenzinger he founded the Neue Kammermusik Bremen society, whose concerts presented many contemporary works. Continuing his activity as a pianist, he was director 1930-3 of music programs on the Bremen radio. He settled in 1933 in Berlin but for political reasons was forbidden to play in public, so he toured 1933-5 in Spain with Goldberg.

Newmark wanted to leave Germany, but it was not until 1939 that he was able to get to London. There he took part in concerts, notably with the soprano Emmy Heim and the violinist Max Rostal. Because of his status as an alien, however, he was interned in 1940 on the Isle of Man and then in Canada. In 1942 he went to Toronto and studied harmony and conducting with Ettore Mazzoleni. The soprano Frances James engaged him in 1943 for a tour that took him as far as Vancouver and Victoria.

In 1944 Newmark settled permanently in Montreal, where his services were soon in demand by eminent Canadian and foreign soloists. That year, with the violinist Alexander Brott and the cellist Roland Leduc, he was the first to perform the complete Beethoven trios on CBC radio; and in 1945 he and the violinist Noël Brunet performed 19 Mozart sonatas on the CBC. He also joined Marie-Thérèse Paquin in 1946 to present for the first time a series devoted to the original repertoire for piano four hands. In 1949 he gave concerts in South America with Goldberg and accompanied the famous contralto Kathleen Ferrier on two extended tours of North America. With her, in 1950, he recorded song cycles of Schumann and Brahms for Decca-London; Brahms' Vier Ernste Gesänge in 1952 won a Grand prix du disque de l'Académie Charles-Cros.

Newmark took part in thousands of recitals, concerts, and radio and TV broadcasts. He accompanied more than 80 foreign and at least 160 Canadian artists and has recorded with several of the most prominent. His long collaboration with Maureen Forrester began in 1953; with her he toured the world. After a Toronto recital by the team John Kraglund wrote (Globe and Mail, 18 Jan 1960): 'Superb as Miss Forrester was, much of the credit for the exceptionally high quality of the recital must go to Mr. Newmark. Always a reliable accompanist, he gave inspired performances throughout the evening, providing an integral part of each song, without being guilty of either too much or too little.'

In 1950 Newmark acquired a Clementi piano built in London in 1810, and on it he gave recitals and made recordings.

Newmark was one of the artistic advisers 1972-5 to the Opéra du Québec. He served on many competition juries and took part in the premieres of numerous Canadian works.

Newmark renewed his youthful activities as a painter and exhibited his work in 1962 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 1963 at the Mansfield Book Mart in Montreal, and in 1964 at Le Bouquinier, a bookstore in Quebec City. In 1975 he completed his memoirs (still unpublished in 1990) and in 1979 he read selections from them in a CBC radio series, 'An Accompanist's ABC.' He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and received the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1979. In 1982 the CBC produced a one-hour documentary in his honour. In 1988 he received the Prix Denise-Pelletier awarded by the Quebec Government. Newmark deposited a collection of his scrapbooks at the National Library of Canada.


As Soloist
The Clementi Piano I: C.P.E. Bach - J.C. Bach - W.F. Bach. 1962. Folk FM-3341

The Clementi Piano II: Clementi Sonatas, Opus 40, no. 1; Opus 50, no. 3. 1964. Folk FM-3342

Duchow - Barclay - Papineau-Couture - Pentland - Brassard - Coulthard - Bartley - Beckwith - Hurst. 1955. RCI 134/(Papineau-Couture) 6-ACM 4

Haydn - C.P.E. Bach - Clementi. 1953. Hallmark RS-4

Reger. 1965. 2-A of D ABD-4

with Foreign Artists

Brahms Vier Ernste Gesänge. Ferrier alto. 1950. Lon LLP-271/Ace of Clubs ACL-306/Lon 421-299-2 (CD)

Falla Siete canciones populares españolas. C. Torrès soprano. 1947. 2-RCA Victor 120336-7

Pièces pour violoncelle. P. Tortelier violoncello, M. Tortelier violoncello. 1958. Pathé-Marconi FALP-599

Schumann Frauenliebe und -leben; Volksliedchen; Widmung. Ferrier alto. 1950. Lon LLP-271/Ace of Clubs ACL-307

- Frauenliebe und -leben. U. Graf soprano. 1950. Allegro 73

with Canadian Artists

Beethoven Trio Opus 121a (Kakadu Variations), Trio Opus 153, Trio Opus 44 (14 variations on an original theme). M. Goodman violin, W. Joachim violoncello. 1970. CBC SM-122

Coulthard Sonata for oboe and piano. C. Perrier oboe. 1949. RCI 4

Debussy Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano - Hindemith Sonata for clarinet and piano. A. Gallant clarinet. 1966. CBC SM-11

Haydn Trio in D - Mozart Trio in E K542. M. Goodman violin, Rosemarin violoncello. 1951. RCI 44

Hessenberg - Turina - Bloch. M. Goodman violin, W. Joachim violoncello. 1968. CBC SM-59

Music from Latvia: Medins - Dvarionas - Lapenson - et al. Lapenson violin. 1969. Poly 542-005

For recordings as accompanist with other Canadian artists see Alarie, Ascher Duo, D. Bell, Boyden, Bress, Maurice Brown, Brunet, Daunais, Diamant, Forrester, G. Gabora, H. Gagné, M. Goodman, E.B. Guy, Hagen, O. Joachim, W. Joachim, Kash, Kondaks, Korjus, R. Leduc, Malenfant, Masella family, Nelsova, Montreal String Quartet, Simoneau, Toronto Woodwind Quintet, Verreau.

Further Reading