I have worked for a over a decade as a freelance conductor, mostly in opera for companies including Opera North, Welsh National Opera,
Opera Rara, English Touring Opera, Bergen National Opera, and Chelsea Opera Group as well as performing concerts with orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra, and the Salomon Orchestra.
That work continues both in school and out. I have recently conducted concerts with Warwick University Symphony Orchestra (Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, taken the combined forces of King Henry VIII Senior and Prep Schools to perform in the Butterworth Hall, and performed with Chelsea Opera Group (Rossini Mose in Egitto) and the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra (Dvořák Cello Concerto and Brahms Symphony no.1).
Although I feel that I have in some ways left that life behind, conducting remains a significant part of who I am and what I do. In putting this site together, I have looked again at some of the things I have done and some of the reviews written about my work.
While I was deeply in the world of classical music, I never felt that my work gained much traction – despite working with companies with international reputations. Looking back, however, I received exceptionally good press and certainly my memories of a number of the projects I was involved with are hugely positive. Even my non-conducting activities had success: the disc of Rossini songs I curated for Opera Rara remains one the company’s best-selling recordings.
I thought it might be fun for me – and hopefully for you – to put a few of the things people have written about me here. Mostly as a memory for me but also to show those of you who came here looking for information on me what I have achieved in the past!
This high-voltage concert revival of Bellini’s version of Romeo and Juliet was one of the group’s finest achievements … Conductor Robin Newton opted for a big-scale, high-voltage performance [of] power and excitement … the pervasive sense of tension and uncertainty, so often played down, was wonderfully sustained.Tim Ashley, The Guardian [Bellini I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Chelsea Opera Group]
Conductor Robin Newton held everything together with wonderful aplomb, leaving plenty of space for the singers whilst keeping everything moving, and ensuring the large scale ensembles motored along without accident. More than that, he also had a definite flair for Rossini’s music so that there was plenty to enjoy.Robert Hugill, planethugill.com [Rossini Mose in Egitto – Chelsea Opera Group]
Conductor Robin Newton extracted precise yet emotive playing from the orchestra, while the chorus also proved in fine shape.
Sam Smith, musicOMH.com [Bellini I Capuleti e i Montecchi – Chelsea Opera Group]
Numerous interpreters have tended to rein the piece in. Conductor Robin Newton, in contrast, opted for a big-scale, high-voltage performance that more than made up in power and excitement for what it occasionally lacked in finesse. Bellini places his feuding families on either side of a civil war, and the pervasive sense of tension and uncertainty, so often played down, was wonderfully sustained.
Tim Ashley, Guardian [Bellini I Capuleti e i Montecchi – Chelsea Opera Group]
Your conductor, who told me he had been in love with Sinfonia Sacra since he was 9 years old, conveyed a profound understanding of the structure as well as the drama of this work, and it was a great joy for me to hear you all playing it with such warmth and power
Camilla Panufnik on a performance of her husband’s work [Salomon Orchestra]
The piece clearly stretched the orchestra, the violins opened the last movement with a passage in harmonics and the trumpet parts lie very high. But the orchestra responded magnificently, and under Newton’s persuasive direction really brought the work to life, filling its symbolic structures with heart and emotion. [Panufnik, Sinfonia Sacra] …
Robin Newton, conducting the symphony from memory, drew a fine grained and beautifully controlled performance from the orchestra, but one which was full of the sprung rhythms of Dvorak’s Czech roots too. [Dvorak, Symphony no.8]
Robert Hugill, planethugill.com [Panufnik Sinfonia Sacra, Dvořák Symphony no.8 – Salomon Orchestra
the orchestra was thrilling, under the forceful baton of Robin Newton, slightly slow in Act I, but turning the screws so that I was almost screaming for more in Act II, and doing what can be done for the miserable Act III. Lots of delicacy, and, when rich tone was called for, somehow that was forthcoming, too.
Michael Tanner, The Spectator [ETO, Tosca]