Laura Oltman, classical guitar instructor at Lafayette, has recently created many innovative projects—recordings, videos, concert performances, new music commissioning, and online/in-person blended educational activities—that have received recognition in international media.
Laura, along with Michael Newman, her duo partner (and spouse of 40 years), recorded a new duet composed by Cuban legend Leo Brouwer for the duo. The project was featured in Classical Guitar magazine, among other publications.
The duo’s MusicMasters Classics audiophile vinyl LP of Brouwer’s music received glowing reviews from BBC Music Magazine, American Record Guide, Acoustic Guitar, and Fanfare. Learn more about the project.
The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo has performed numerous online concerts during the pandemic, including one as part of a remote residency for Stetson University (concert, master class, entrepreneurship presentation), performing the new music by Leo Brouwer, among others.
That concert received notice in numerous publications, including Broadway World.
Laura was the subject of a feature article in the multi-genre publication GuitarGirl.
GuitarGirl subsequently wrote about Laura’s involvement with the newest Leo Brouwer commission and international performance for Americas Society celebrating the 100th anniversary of Astor Piazzolla’s birth.
It also wrote about Laura’s work with Raritan River Music Festival and innovative hybrid concert and community outreach events.
Laura commissioned a new duet by Leo Brouwer to commemorate the passing of guitar hero Julian Bream. Laura’s playing was featured in the Remembering Julian Bream international tribute in July, performing Brouwer’s “Through the Looking Glass (After Lewis Carroll)”.
Laura’s duo was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal review of the event.
Laura is co-founding artistic director of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes. The opening concert for the 21st edition for 2021 featured tango performers from around the world. Laura performed music by Piazzolla and new music by Daniel Binelli, Piazzolla’s protégé, with whom Laura performed at Richardson Auditorium.
Laura and Michael served as 2021 curators for Americas Society’s En Casa series of video productions featuring Navajo, Colombian, Mexican, Brazilian, and Cuban performers and composers from throughout the Americas.
Laura is also a co-founding artistic director of Raritan River Music, which produced the A Raritan River Christmas concert video for patients and residents of health care and residential facilities.
The duo’s playing was featured in a Red Sofa series concert for New York Guitar Festival, co-directed by WNYC’s John Schaefer, playing music of Leo Brouwer.
“Superb performances of guitar music by the master composer for the instrument, Leo Brouwer. Indeed, this work is one of the best guitar works I have heard.”
Fanfare (David DeBoor Canfield)
“Laura Oltman and Michael Newman are clearly masters of their instruments, and play with precision and verve, producing the many colors available to the best exponents of the guitar. Guitar aficionados will need no prodding from me to snap this disc up, but it will also prove a delight to those who are more catholic in their musical tastes. Recommended.”
“Remembering Julian Bream has a starry roster, but the festival’s heart is a half-dozen commissioned works, all by guitarists who also compose. Of the festival’s commissions, Leo Brouwer’s ‘Through the Looking Glass (After Lewis Carroll),’ for two guitars, is of particular interest, given that Bream played Brouwer’s music. Performed by the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo (Michael Newman and Laura Oltman), this graceful duet is less about dialogue than counterpoint: Instead of a give and take, the second guitar line elaborates on the first until an interlocking, gently mechanistic structure emerges.”
Wall Street Journal (Allan Kozinn)
“A wonderful celebration of Leo Brouwer. Newman & Oltman haven’t lost a beat after four decades together. This vinyl, audiophile LP is yet another high-water mark for the outstanding New York-based duo.”
Acoustic Guitar (Mark Small)
“A quartet of mythical beasts [is] depicted by Brouwer with wit and imagination, and played here with aplomb.”
BBC Music Magazine
“Winners of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, Newman & Oltman are extremely well equipped to handle the task of bringing Brouwer’s often complex music to life, and they do so here with repertoire characteristic of the composer’s different periods … The duo sounds as one with unified, undulating phrasing, clearly delivering the intricacies of the arrangements. Lovely playing! … The duo achieves a strong intensity in the conclusion of the work, taking their guitars to the limit of expression … 40 years of persistence have paid off handsomely! Bravo!”
American Record Guide (James McCutcheon)