An expression of pride and joy

The second annual Malibu Coast Chamber Music Festival features an original ballet and a silent film evening. Photo by Guy W. Kitchens

The hills are alive with music at the second Annual Malibu Coast

Chamber Music Festival.

By Melonie Magruder / Special to The Malibu Times

For a second year in a row, the home-grown Malibu Coast Chamber Music Festival will offer its inimitable celebration of music and, as they say, “not just concerts-experiences!” from Friday through Sept. 3.

The husband and wife team of Maria Newman and Scott Hosfeld is the muse behind the festival.

Along with local musicians, the festival will feature British cellist Andrew Shulman, former first chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and pianist Peter Longworth from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

This year’s festival has some new features, including an original ballet titled “Colores de Mexico,” choreographed by Adrianna Fiori and composed by Newman, and a silent film evening.

“Maria got involved with the Mary Pickford Foundation when she scored several silent movies from the Pickford Library,” Hosfeld said. “We’ll be showing and orchestrating a Pickford short film made in 1910 called ‘Willful Peggy’ about a young girl who runs away and acts like a man for a day. It’s hilarious.”

The festival will present eight events, with the final orchestral concert featuring music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the Swiss string composer Ernst Bloch and Sir Edward Elgar, which will be offered at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, with Cantor Marcelo Gindlin as host and special guest to the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra.

“It was a life-long dream to start a festival here in Malibu,” Newman said. “We wanted to offer the types of musical ‘salons’ like Bach and Schumann played back in the 19th century. But we wanted it to be big enough for all the community to enjoy.”

Accordingly, Newman has gathered some of the finest musicians found in Southern California for a chamber music approach to the festival, with classical and original compositions being performed at the most intimate possible venue: their own home up in the mountains above Malibu.

The Montgomery Arts House was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, for Newman, the daughter of nine-time Academy Award-winning composer Alfred Newman.

“My mother, Martha Montgomery, bought this land in the ’40s and later gifted it to me,” Newman said. “Mom was a starlet and a Goldwyn girl, but after she married my father, she always stayed in the background as the perfect wife and mother. I thought it was time for Mom to be honored, so we realized this dream to build a home featuring music, art and architecture.”

With the completion of the home in 2001, Newman and Hosfeld-both prolific composers and musicians in their own right-were poised to launch their music festival, drawing upon the talents of colleagues from the performing world.

“What we’re trying to do philosophically is bring great music home and accessible in a laid-back way,” Hosfeld said. “If you go to Europe, you can find live classical music everywhere. We want it to be normal for families to go to a concert and, if the kids can’t sit through it, they can go outside and play.”

Newman and Hosfeld have four children of their own (and one on the way) who are all musicians.

And, with their house designed to accommodate audiences for both intimate chamber music and larger orchestral performances, Newman and Hosfeld can offer the community a venue to enjoy world-class recitals in a relaxed and neighborly ambiance.

“Besides being a great composer, Maria works in the film industry scoring films,” Hosfeld said. “You have a lot of extraordinary musicians in L.A. scoring movies who are never recognized individually. Here, they get to be more than anonymous. Our festival will feature some truly amazing musicians.”

But perhaps the most salient aspect of the Malibu Coast Music Festival is that all the concerts are presented free of charge.

“All the concerts are privately sponsored,” Newman said. “We didn’t want to charge entry fees because this is a celebration. It’s like in Europe, where live music is an expression of pride and joy. You should be able to hear live music everywhere.”

Hosfeld agreed. “It’s difficult to get an entire family from Malibu downtown to an L.A. Phil concert,” he said.

“If you don’t expose kids to live music, you’ll have a generation growing up with no idea of the concert experience,” Hosfeld said. “That’s why our festival is for the whole family.”

Festival concert schedule and venue information can be obtained online at