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Born with perfect pitch perception/retention, Newell Oler's music won over all his other interests and became a way of life.
Newell Oler was a regular performer at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas, from 1979 to 1992
Newell Oler as the guest pianist performing a concerto from the movie "Spellbound" accompanied by the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra
Newell Oler at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel with one of his Yamaha electric pianos - 1992.
Newell Oler portrait shot - 1998.
Newell Oler - August 17th, 1934 to October 21st, 2001


Newell Franklin Barrett was a product of Texas. He grew up in Mount Pleasant, Texas and lived with his grandparents, Rich and Ethel Barrett. They, along with his aunt, Arrie Barrett Moreland were very influential to his upbringing. Arrie figured strongly in his formative years as a pianist by supervising his practice and encouraging new goals in contest performance. She was the one who discovered his ability of perfect pitch. Around 1938, about age 4, his uncle pulled into the driveway and tapped twice on his car horn. Newell ran over to the piano and climbed up on the piano stool and played middle c and e above. His aunt heard him and came into the living room and said, ”Do that again.” Newell played the notes again and said “car horn.” That was how this piece of talent was discovered.

While growing up, there were always recitals and appearances in and for local service clubs. He also frequently performed in this grandfather’s restaurant. Classical music was about all he could play and the local folks would applaud politely. Every once in a while someone would come over and ask, “how about giving us a little boogie woogie?” That was sometimes tough to accommodate since there were few boogie woogies in print in those days. Newell was a serious young man and one of the most significant needs in his early life was that of solitude and time to pursue knowledge from books and exploration of hobbies. Of course, the old upright piano was also a constant friend in early childhood.

As he matured, his facility with the piano was such that playing things by ear was easier than learning the music. However, once in college, one of his Russian teachers discovered that Newell preferred the keys with flats, over the keys laden with sharps. So, this teacher, gave Newell Rachmaninoff concerto in F# minor, a Stravinsky etude in F3 major and a prelude and Fugue by Bach. At this time, Newell also began studying with German, Italian and Russian teachers and composers, and earnestly pursued the quest for excellence in his music throughout his college years.

From age 16, he had dreamed of a piano that would have its own string accompaniment with perfect synchronization. In 1977 he drew up some designs for the pianist to access various string sections utilizing the latest synchronization techniques. The design was enough to get the Yamaha Company to study it and five years later (1982) things begin to happen. In reality, it was five more years before this piano was actually ready for Newell to play for the first time. He was so pleased, he eventually acquired two of the pianos.

His career spanned over five decades and his accomplishments were many. From teaching children's music, to performing in various highly respected bands and orchestras. Newell’s experiences eventually led him to his distinguished solo career. He shared his gift, playing the finest venues in the Dallas area, including the Loews’s Anatole hotel for twelve years. As a recording artist, Newell produced 25 CD’s of his own inspired piano interpretations of classic and popular compositions, as well as his own original works.

Newell fully appreciated the wondrous musical gift he was given by God. Next to his family, music was always the main focus of his life. He also had a great sense of humor and passion for knowledge and learning. His great music accomplishments will be enjoyed for generations to come.

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