“Buzz Newton brushes aside the technical challenges of Wilby’s fiery Greek ‘Zeibekikos Dance’ with remarkable ease - its fearsome virtuosity in marked contrast to the touchingly simple yet highly effective ‘Song’ that precedes it.”4barsrest.com
Born in Ashburton, a small town south of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand, Byron ‘Buzz’ Newton received his early brass training on the baritone with the Ashburton Silver Band. After a move north to Christchurch to attend secondary school at Christchurch Boys’ High School, Buzz was tutored by the then Woolston Brass conductor David Gallaher. After accidentally breaking his instrument trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece, Buzz was given a euphonium by Gallaher as a replacement. Meant only to be a short-term fix, Buzz instantly fell in love with the instrument and never returned to the baritone.
Fast-forward to today and Buzz has become one of the world’s top euphonium performers with many prestigious solo awards to his name, including the 2008 Brass Prize at the International Gisborne Competition, the Best Euphonium and Baritone title at the 2010 British Open Solo Competition, and several best soloist awards including the 2011 Scenic Hotels Band of the Year, the 2012 Welsh Open, 2012 Wychaven Contest, and the 2013 Besson Band of the Year.
After graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Music and a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction from the New Zealand School of Music, Buzz accepted a scholarship to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) with the father-and-son combination and euphonium legends Robert and David Childs.
During his time in Wales, Buzz was the principal euphonium and featured concert soloist with the famous Tredegar Town Band, performing at many prestigious concert halls around the world, including London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 2012 he became the first brass student to win the RWCMD Concerto Competition and in his final Masters recital Buzz was awarded a mark of 100% making him the first student in the college’s history to do so, thus securing a grade of distinction for his degree, and was awarded The Simon Clarkson Memorial Award for best all-round musician at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2012.
His return to Wellington and New Zealand in 2012 has seen Buzz in high demand as a soloist, teacher, and freelance musician throughout Australasia. He is the Principal Euphonium in the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band, and is the euphonium and baritone tutor at the New Zealand School of Music. In 2014 Buzz released his debut solo album Kiwi Dragon featuring music from his 100% recital.
Buzz has been a member of the National Secondary Schools, National Youth, and National Brass Bands of New Zealand, and his versatility has seen him perform with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Buzz is a Besson artist and performs exclusively on a Besson Prestige Euphonium with an Alliance DC3 mouthpiece.