Mary Lou Newmark
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Mary Lou Newmark

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2000

Los Angeles, CA
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Electronic Avant-garde

Calendar

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Room to Breathe"

If Lindsay Sterling is product, Newmark is food. Some of the most exciting electric, eclectic violin music to come along since before Jean Luc Ponty first started seeing his recording budgets getting smaller, this set that leads you not to care whether it jazz, new age, world or contemporary classical, just plain takes listening music to the next level of the game. A real treat for those willing to turn their backs on the top 40, this engaging set delivers loads of sonic fulfillment. Killer stuff.
(Green Angel) - Midwest Record


"Green Angel"

Mary Lou Newmark is a new age world music purveyor. "Green Angel" is a distinctly eclectic blend of electric violin compositions. Her music is divergent, comparable to a healthy oak tree that grows below the earth as well as above it. Newmark uses sounds, voices, and at times it seems like synthesized violin, to make her compositions sound entirely original and unique. It is in fact a different experience to sit and listen to an album of instrumental electric violin music. The violin being so worldly as it were makes it a perfect vehicle for world music. - Music Dish


"Plenty of Breathing Room"

“I was trained as a classical musician, so my approach to theater comes from a different perspective than most playwrights.” So says Mary Lou Newmark in discussing Breathing Room her stunningly beautiful and sensibly subversive work now on stage at the Greenway Court Theatre.
Ms. Newmark’s perspective is not that of a playwright and her piece reflects that. With its reframes, counterpoints and recurring motifs of flight and birds its construction speaks of her chosen field.
Breathing Room might prove frustrating to an audience seeking a solid story that unfolds as the characters on stage progress from beat to beat until the completion of the play’s narrative arc.
What Ms. Newmark provides is something different:
Not a “drama” but strikingly dramatic;
Not a play but disarmingly playful;
Not a “slice of life” but fully life affirming.
The evening is comprised of four slender acts and a coda with each listed in the program accompanied by a quote. One quote comes from Alan Watts, another is taken from a Native American tale, but the most illuminating is by George Santayana, “The earth has music for those who listen.”
Ms. Newmark’s lyric fable follows Marilyn (Eileen T’Kaye), a successful artist and urbanite, who struggles to hear that music through the dissonance of modernity.
The Professor (Charles Reese) is fashioned on the lines of Joseph Campbell’s champion guide, part Virgil, part Mister Mxyzptik, part Harold Hill. Reese, himself, comes to the part packing a double load of panache.
The third character on stage is a violinist posted behind a scrim, who artfully heightens and shadows the piece’s poetry with her playing. The show’s “Creator/Writer/Composer/Sound Designer” Ms. Newark takes on this part.
In the manner it conveys a relationship with nature imbued with the intimacy of the confessional, Ms. Newmark’s writing brings to mind the work of Ted Hughes. Neither ornate nor boisterous, this work is not a thing forged of sturdy links, but a gossamer fabric woven of silken butterfly wings. - The TVolution by Ernest Kearney


Discography

Room to Breathe (2017)

Music from Street Angel Diaries (2008)

Green Angel (2000)

Photos

Bio

Mary Lou Newmark is an electric violinist, composer, and poet/playwright living in Los Angeles.  Her music combines live violin performance, original poetry, electronically processed sounds, beats, and bird songs.  Mary Lou creates unique compositions that inhabit their own musical ecosystems.

Mary Lou began her career as a classically trained musician.  She holds Masters degrees from USC (violin performance) and UCLA (music composition).  In her late twenties Mary Lou began to compose music.  As her compositions soon stretched the limits of the acoustic violin’s techniques, she discovered a passion for electronic music.  With an unlimited palette of musical colors, she began to specialize in performing her own work for solo electric violin and e-violin with soundscapes.

Her first CD, “Green Angel,” was released in 2000.  This debut work included electronic sound compositions and original poems, as well as instrumental pieces that reminded reviewers of Bach, Jimi Hendrix, and Robert Rauschenberg.  Writing in 21st Century Music, David Cleary found the CD “soulful and highly charged.”

As Mary Lou continued to write both music and poetry, she expanded her creations to the theater.  Her hybrid theatrical work, “Street Angel Diaries,” premiered in December 2006, in a full theatrical production at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Main Stage in Pasadena, CA.  With original text, poetry, and music, “Street Angel Diaries” looked at homelessness from the perspectives of the  homeless themselves, based on first-hand accounts Mary Lou gathered from current or formerly homeless people. Philip Brandes of the Los Angeles Times hailed the work’s “haunting score” and went on to applaud Mary Lou’s “modernistic musical sketches on her neon-lit electric violin—picture Laurie Anderson on a good hair day, but aiming more at emotions than intellect.”

Mary Lou’s second CD, “Music From Street Angel Diaries,” drew music and text from her stage play.

In October 2015, Mary Lou’s latest theater work, “Breathing Room,” premiered in a full theatrical production at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles.  In “Breathing Room,” two neighbors—an artist and a science teacher with a mysterious past—negotiate living with hummingbirds, meatball eating bears, backyard chickens, and “modern technologic vertigo.”  In his Best of Los Angeles Theater 2015, critic Ernest Kearney called “Breathing Room” a “joyous dance!”  The Los Angeles Theater Critics at ArtsinLA awarded Mary Lou a 2015 SAGE award for Best Musical Score.

“Room to Breathe,” Mary Lou's latest CD, has received radio airplay in the US, Canada, and internationally on stations ranging from contemporary classical to eclectic pop to electronic.  “Radio Mona Lisa” (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) played the entire CD over two weekend shows.  During 2018, “Room to Breathe” appeared on weekly Top 30 charts at US public radio and college radio stations from Alaska to New York.  Tracks from the album received over 500 spins on legendary college station WUOG.

"Room to Breathe" retains the soaring electric violin solos and imaginative word play of Mary Lou’s past work.  But there is much more here.  Mary Lou has been listening to the rhythms and pitch of animal sounds and finding the music in them.

She comments, “I am trying to create a conversation between natural sounds and electronic sounds, on a much deeper level than I had in the past.  I am fond of paradox.  I like putting together disparate sounds and finding common elements among them.”

Sometimes the music is ambient, sometimes it is cinematic, and sometimes the sounds contrast.  You hear an electric guitar with the bawl of coyotes, and you hear a soulful cello with the howl of wolves.  It all ends with “Natural Love,” a peaceful poem of hope.

In 2020, the year of Covid, with all live performances cancelled, Mary Lou and textile artist Beanie Kaman began a new collaboration.

It started with Mary Lou’s music, recorded at the TANK in Rangely, Colorado in 2018.  Since then, Mary Lou has been weaving that raw improvised music into new compositions, adding other sounds, reframing, and recontextualizing.  "Pigeons and the Hawk" is one such composition.

Beanie created visual layers of her work, and together with video footage of Mary Lou at the TANK, she constructed a sumptuous landscape with the music.  Steve Kaman, a well-known editor (and Beanie's brother) blended all of the images into the video.
(see link to youtube on this site)

Look for a new CD in early 2021!