DUO NOIRE is an innovative classical guitar ensemble that is breaking new ground through their genre-bending programming choices, commissioned premieres, and original arrangements. Consisting of the pioneering American classical guitarists Thomas Flippin & Christopher Mallett, Duo Noire has been hailed as a "virtuosic pair" (I Care if You Listen) and has performed across the world in distinguished venues such as the Norfolk Music Festival, the 92nd Street Y, Peking University (Beijing), the Times Center, and the Avaloch Farm Music Institute as Resident Artists.
Duo Noire has been featured in articles by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar Magazine, Gendai Guitar, and on the cover of the Guitar Foundation of America's quarterly journal Soundboard. Their debut album, FIGMENTS, consisted of "a substantial piece...recorded in crystalline sound" (Soundboard), which was written for them by the award-winning Juilliard professor Raymond Lustig. FIGMENTS was praised for its "impressive technique” stating that “Flippin and Mallett definitely don't disappoint (I Care if You Listen)." The album has been broadcast on WNYC, WQXR, Inside Classical Guitar for Radio Arts Foundation St. Louis and Classical Guitar Insider with Bret Williams.
In 2015 the duo began their "Women of Guitar Commissioning Project," to remedy the lack of gender diversity in classical guitar repertoire. Made possible through funding from the Diller-Quaile School of Music where Flippin is on faculty, Duo Noire has commissioned several of the most talented female composers of their generation to write for two guitars, including Clarice Assad, Courtney Bryan, Gabrielle Herbst (GABI), Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gabriella Smith and Gity Razaz. The project will culminate in a full length album and tour in 2017-2018.
News & Updates
January 2017 - St Louis Classical Guitar Society 1/28. Premiering works by Clarice Assad & Courtney Bryan.
April 2017 - Santa Cruz, CA. Premiering works by Gity Razaz, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gabrielle Herbst, and Gabriella Smith.
May 2017 - New York City Classical Guitar Society 5/24. Performing all 6 pieces written for Duo Noire as part of the "Women of Guitar Commissioning Project."
July 2016- AVALOCH FARM residency. Working on new music by Ray Lustig, Clarice Assad & Courtney Bryan.
- Flippin performs at the National Sawdust spring gala. Featuring Renee Fleming, & Bryce Dessner, and honoring
Academy Award nominee David Lang and broadway soprano Alicia Hall Moran. Special guest Salman Rushdie.
April 2016- Mallett featured in CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE video.
- Interviewed on Classical Guitar Insider podcast w/ Bret Williams.
-Duo Noire gives lecture/performance at JUILLIARD 3/31.
-Flippin at the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Histories Remixed Series 3/3.
-Mallett performs solo recital at OBERLIN College 3/12.
-Mallett performs with GRAMMY winner William Coulter at UC Santa Cruz faculty concert.
-Flippin returns to National Sawdust w/ Alicia Hall Moran, GRAMMY-nominee Jason Moran (piano),
Brandon Ross (Electric gtr), Kaoru Watanabe (taiko), Prasanna and Shalini Lakshmi.
-Flippin opens a concert for Lawrence Dutton of the GRAMMY-winning EMERSON STRING QUARTET.
-Mallett has a feature interview in CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE &
Gets glowing solo album review: "effortless..lovely."
-Mallett Joins faculty of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ.
-Flippin appears on NYT and All That Jazz acclaimed album:
"HEAVY BLUE" by Alicia Hall Moran (produced by Jason Moran).
-Flippin performs at NYC's finest new music venue, NATIONAL SAWDUST.
-Mallett gets stellar review in Soundboard (41 no.2) for his Debut Solo Cd.
"Crisply virtuosic...Get this disc: Mallett is a Player to watch."
-Duo Noire featured photo in ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE.
-5/21-5/25: Duo Noire CHINA TOUR
-Duo Noire on the cover of SOUNDBOARD by the Guitar Foundation of America.
-Flippin interviewed on CLASSICAL GUITAR INSIDER podcast w/ Bret Williams.
I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, Where Classical Guitar Meets Minimalism
"Figments, composed by Raymond Lustig and performed by the virtuosic pair, DUO NOIRE (Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett) is a unique and entrancing album that exists at the unusual intersection of minimalism and impressive classical guitar technique...The impressive technique displayed by DUO NOIRE is perfectly suited to Lustig's delicious compositions, and you wouldn't regret getting a hold of this; if you like acoustic guitar, bluegrass, minimalism, blues -or music at all- you'll definitely enjoy this excellently produced and mastered album."
SOUNDBOARD MAGAZINE, Mini-Review: Figments
"Figments is a substantial piece over half an hour in length...At times the effect is similar to the early minimalism of pulse-pattern works, but fragmenting much sooner than the music of Philip Glass or Steve Reich & Terry Riley...captured in crystalline sound...both composer Lustig and Duo Noire are to be congratulated for their work. I look forward to hearing more from them."
ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE: GUITARS FOR GOOD
Needy schools benefit from nonprofits bringing guitars into the classroom...The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society didn't get involved in the Ferguson protests, but took the message of those signs to heart nonetheless...[and] instituted the Ferguson Guitar Initiative...Students of Johnson Wabash Elementary School in Ferguson Missouri pose with Artists-in-residence Thomas Flippin and Chris Mallett of Duo Noire.
THE GUARDIAN, Voodoo review – a lost Harlem Renaissance opera soars
"Underneath that late-Romantic two-part vocal harmony, Freeman’s orchestra featured bluesy scales, gorgeously shaped on this night by the Harlem Chamber Players’ strings. Eventually, the stylistic threads converged...Throughout the night, this dynamic delivered one surprise after the next – as when [Flippin's] banjo plucked its way to a greater prominence in the orchestra, or when the rhythmic phrasing of a vocal line would close off with a subtle nod in the direction of American swing. This exquisite ambiguity mirrored the tensions at the core of the opera’s narrative..."
SOUNDBOARD MAGAZINE, Mallett's Solo CD Review:
"Mallett, one half of Duo Noire (featured on the cover of Soundboard 40, No.3), begins his fine disc with powerful performances of two dances by Regino Sainz de la Maza...[they] have never sounded better. What follows is Dusan Bogdanovic's utterly charming Jazz Sonatina. Mallett plays it beautifully. Nikita Koshkin's 'The Porcelain Tower'...[is] an impressive work and performance...very fine, and crisply virtuosic...exceedingly well done. Get this disc: Mallett is a player to watch."
THE NEW YORK TIMES, 'Voodoo,’ by Harry Lawrence Freeman, Has First Staging Since 1928
"Years in the making, this “Voodoo,” a collaboration among the Morningside company, Harlem Opera Theater and the Harlem Chamber Players, conducted by Gregory Hopkins, is the fruit of much labor and love...And passages of the score, an intriguing if overcautious mixture of traditionally operatic and folk styles, are lovely: [Flippin's] banjo’s plangent astringency and the saxophone’s croon cut effectively through the textures of a standard orchestra."
CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE: Flippin's Solo CD Review
"The opening Casseus trilogy is great stuff....these indeed, are three little gems...The Brouwer pairing is always a winner...tuneful and warmly evocative music [that is] beautifully played here...The Mompou...remains one of the 20th Century's most beautiful and original guitar works [and] Flippin does it full justice...With Flippin's own pieces...there are many beautiful moments...A fine recital with some attractively performed and recorded music."
CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE, Norwegian Wood
"The superb guitarist...Christopher Mallett...[gave] a fine set."
"What a pleasure it was having DUO NOIRE on our series. Not only was their musicianship brilliant , but also the diversity of their programming was exceptional. The two provided delightful on-stage commentaries, adding tremendously to our audience's appreciation of each selection. How gratifying it is to see young artists so devoted to their craft."
-Music Programming Director, Placitas Artists Series
"DUO NOIRE were impeccable...charming musicians performing gorgeous, slow-blooming, stereophonic.guitar music. Everybody fell in love with them."
Conrad WIndslow, Juilliard composer
"bringing a creative artist's vitality to all the music they perform, as if the music were being written before your very eyes."
-Ray Lustig, Juilliard Composition Faculty