Newton Wayland, a native of Santa Barbara, began his formal studies at Harvard University. During his year there it became clear to him that music was his true vocation and he then applied to and was accepted at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Wayland's extraordinary talent and versatility were soon evident to both his teachers and fellow students.He majored in conducting, composition and piano. As a student he was already in great demand as an accompanist to singers and instrumentalists and as soloist in chamber groups. One of his most memorable performances was that of the Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Opus 34 in Jordan Hall. Behind the bohemian facade (at that time, his unusual attire: jeans, engineer boots, work shirts, leather jacket;. his mode of transportation: a Harley Davidson; his sense of humor: bawdy and ribald), one sensed the enormous discipline and profound understanding of the music.
Soon after graduation (at NEC he attained the bachelor and master of music degrees with high honors), he became quasi the successor to Arthur Fiedler at the Boston Pops Orchestra. His career as a conductor of pop orchestras then soared and for most of his professional life he conducted numerous major orchestras in the US and Canada, including the Houston Symphony and the leading orchestras in Washington, D.C., Vancouver and Toronto. A culmination of this career included a guest appearance with the Lyon Symphony orchestra in France. Wayland was also in great demand as an arranger. It could be said that he was one of the first masters of crossover. One notable arrangement was that of Beatles songs. Whether conducting those or Smetana's Moldau, his sense of rhythm, dynamics, his sense of fun and enthusiasm were acclaimed by audiences and by the press. A special gift was his eloquence. Audiences were delighted with his interpretations and explanations in his charming and inimitable manner.
After his retirement in Santa Barbara, he continued to be the Renaissance man he had always been. His passion for the theater included an intense study of Shakespeare's plays. Art history, philosophy, geology were only a few of the subjects he studied in depth. His analyses of Bach's work were both enlightening and moving to the circle of friends he shared them with. Bach and Brahms were key composers to Wayland. In the nineties he launched a series of concerts with a soprano, a former fellow student at NEC., a series he titled "The Brahms Experience". The concerts were performed in various venues, such as Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West and the Canterbury Music Festival in England. Wayland, visually a veritable Brahms, accompanied with passion, and read Brahms' letters to Clara Schumann with an actor's verve. It was a recording of one of these concerts that Wayland heard before he died on September 5, 2013.
Son of Helen Hart and L.C. Newton Wayland, he leaves two sisters and their families: Lisa Cabryl and her children William Runnette, Sean Runnette and his wife Anna Cunningham, and Deirdre Runnette and her partner Ingrid Anderson; and Constance Brown, her husband Julius, and their children Janelle and Julius Anthony Brown and his fiancee Cara Henry.
At Newton's request there will be no memorial service. In his name gifts may be made to the UC Santa Barbara Music Library by personal check designated to the UC Santa Barbara Foundation ( please indicate on the check memo that the gift is for the Music Library in the memory of Newton Wayland, and send to the UCSB Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106). He may also be honored by gifts to Friends of the Montecito Library. Gratitude and admiration go to the Cottage Hospital medical ICU doctors and medical staff.
Arrangements entrusted to McDermott-Crockett Mortuary