Meet the Director

Stephen Michael Newby

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Stephen Michael Newby is an accomplished composer, gospel/jazz vocalist, and worship leader whose works have been performed by the Cascade Youth Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, Canton Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony, Savannah Symphony, and New World Theater Orchestra; and have earned him numerous awards and grants.

In 1984 Dr. Newby earned a bachelor of arts in vocal music education and flute performance from Madonna College in Livonia, Michigan. In 1987 he earned a master of music in jazz composition and arranging from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he did his studies in composition under Robert Sutton, Frederick Tillis, Jeff Holmes, and Robert Stern. Returning to Michigan, he completed his doctorate of musical arts in composition in 1994 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There he studied with William Albright, Michael Daugherty, George Wilson, Fred Lerdahl, and Pulitzer Prize winners William Bolcom and Leslie Bassett.

In addition to directing the Center for Worship, Dr. Newby serves as director of the SPU Gospel Choir and the Worship Arts Ensemble, and leads men’s ministry on campus. He has served as a worship pastor for more than 25 years in Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington, and California, and leads new worship music programs at Seattle Pacific University.

Dr. Newby’s awards and grants include the National Endowment of the Arts 2005 St. Paul, Minnesota, Continental Harmony Grant; the King County Arts Commission of Washington Grant; The Rackham School Fellowship for Ethno-musicological Research in Dakar, Senegal; and the John Wesley Work III National Composers’ Award.

Selected Commissions

  • 2012 Prayer Song (trumpet, string orchestra and Soprano solo)
  • 2010 Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit (Music for John Perkins Film)
  • 2010 Our Enduring Spirit (for Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Choir)

Selected Works

  • 2005 Rondo Oratorio (chamber orchestra, SATB soloists and chorus)
  • 1998 Montage for Martin (chamber orchestra, rhythm section and chamber singers)
  • 2005 Precious Lord (choir, string orchestra and alto solo)
  • 2004 Gospel Cantata for Easter (choir/brass quintet and rhythm section)
  • 2000 Testimonials (woodwind quintet and choir)

Published Recordings

  • 2012 TKTG: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
  • 2010 TKTG: Psalms, Laments and Meditations
  • 2009 The Kingdom and The Gospel
  • 2007 We Have a Home
  • 2005 Promise Keepers Live in America


Faculty Performers: Universal Language Project
Prayer Song, by Stephen Michael Newby
Chérie Hughes, Soprano; Brian Chin, Trumpet

Download MP3

Please view Dr. Newby's C.V. (PDF) for additional information.

Stephen Newby teaching

Why I Teach at SPU

Stephen Newby, Associate Professor of Music; Director of Composition

"I love to teach music at SPU because I get to equip and nurture the next generation of creators, innovators, inventors, and artists. Teaching is an extraordinary gift from God. I believe the Wise Creator is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Therefore, I am blessed to teach."

If the body of Christ truly wants this present generation to flourish and lift up the cross of Jesus Christ, It must carefully examine its ways of engaging the culture, ways of living out its worship unto God, and making disciples of Jesus Christ — all these entities are forms of worship as unto our Lord.

Stephen Newby