Duo Noire is a "virtuosic pair" (I Care if You Listen) of the pioneering African-American classical guitarists Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett. With their genre-bending programming choices and numerous world premiere commissions and recordings, they have been praised for their “spectacular precision” and “profoundly enjoyable” performances (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
2017-2018 season highlights include appearances at Georgetown University, U.C. Santa Cruz, the St. Louis Guitar Society, the NYC Classical Guitar Society, and the Omaha Under the Radar Festival, as well as world premieres of works by acclaimed millennial women composers: Clarice Assad, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz, Golfam Khayam, Courtney Bryan, Gabriella Smith, and Gabrielle Herbst (GABI). The season will culminate in a premiere recording and commercial album release.
Duo Noire has been featured on the cover of the Guitar Foundation of America's quarterly journal Soundboard, as well as in articles by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar Magazine (U.K.), and Gendai Guitar (Japan). Their debut album, FIGMENTS, featured “a substantial piece over half an hour in length…recorded in crystalline sound” (Soundboard) written for them by the award-winning Juilliard professor Raymond Lustig. The album is repeatedly broadcasted on WNYC’s New Sounds and Q2 radio and was described as “a unique and entrancing album that exists at the unusual intersection of minimalism and impressive classical guitar technique” (I Care if You Listen).
Past performances had Duo Noire appearing at the 92 Street Y in NYC, at Peking University in Beijing, as fellows at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire, as fellows at the Norfolk Music Festival in Connecticut, and at the Times Center performing for the MacDowell Colony. They frequently collaborate with Grammy winning guitarist Bill Coulter, as well as MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran and the Porgy and Bess Broadway star Alicia Hall Moran.
Duo Noire grew up in southern California before becoming graduates of the Yale School of Music. They are graduates of Oberlin College (Christopher) and the University of Chicago (Thomas). Currently, Christopher is on faculty at the University of California Santa Cruz and Thomas is on faculty at Concordia College in Bronxville New York.
News & Updates
Apr/May 2018 - Flippin with Alicia Hall Moran, Jason Moran, & Brandon Ross for
Black Wall Street Performances in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Featuring music reflecting
on the 1921 race riots in Tulsa.
June 2018 - Duo Noire at the Kindred Spirits Series in Pennsylvania.
NEW ALBUM: NIGHT TRIPTYCH coming on New Focus Recordings 6/22/18.
Featuring new works by women composers: Clarice Assad, Courtney Bryan,
Golfam Khayam, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz & Gabriella Smith.
July 2017 - Omaha Under the Radar Festival 7/7/17 @6pm
Performing selections from Duo Noire's "Women of Guitar Commissioning Project."
May 2017 - New York City Classical Guitar Society 5/24/17 @ 7:30pm.
Performing all 7 pieces written from Duo Noire's "Women of Guitar Commissioning Project."
April 2017 - April in Santa Cruz Festival - University of California Santa Cruz.
Premiering works by Gity Razaz, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Gabriella Smith. Free Admission.
February 2017-- Duo Noire gets glowing concert review in St Louis' largest newspaper the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Interviewed on the Pascal Show on ABC 30 in St. Louis. Interviewed in the St Louis American.
January 2017- Flippin performs on nationally televised C-SPAN broadcast w/ Alicia Hall Moran at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
- St Louis Classical Guitar Society 1/28. Premiering works by Clarice Assad & Courtney Bryan.
July 2016- AVALOCH FARM residency. Working on new music by Ray Lustig, Clarice Assad & Courtney Bryan.
May 2016- Flippin performs at National Sawdust spring gala. Featuring Renee Fleming, & Bryce Dessner; 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.
March 2016- -Duo Noire lecture/performance at JUILLIARD 3/31.
Flippin at the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO 3/3, Mallett performs solo recital at OBERLIN College 3/12.
February 2016 -Mallett performs with GRAMMY winner William Coulter at UC Santa Cruz faculty concert.
January 2016 -Flippin at National Sawdust w/ Alicia Hall Moran, GRAMMY-nominee Jason Moran (piano), Brandon Ross (elec.gtr), Kaoru Watanabe (taiko), Prasanna and Shalini Lakshmi (elec. gtr & vocals).
November 2015 -Flippin opens 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."
October 2015- Mallett Joins faculty of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ.
-Flippin in acclaimed NYT & All That Jazz album "HEAVY BLUE:" by Alicia Hall Moran (prod. Jason Moran). National Sawdust release.
September 2015 -Mallett gets stellar CD review in Soundboard. "Crisply virtuosic...Get this disc: Mallett is a Player to watch."
August 2015 -Duo Noire featured photo in ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE.
May 2015 -5/21-5/25: Duo Noire CHINA TOUR.
Winter 2015-Duo Noire on the cover of SOUNDBOARD by the Guitar Foundation of America.
-Flippin interviewed on CLASSICAL GUITAR INSIDER podcast w/ Bret Williams.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Guitarists Duo Noire get 'a little weird' at Ethical Society concert
It’s always a special pleasure to have Duo Noire back in town, and Saturday night at the Ethical Society was no exception. Classical guitarists Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett created a relaxed, informal atmosphere as they presented an eclectic program that included two world premières...With its incredibly transparent and lightly textured delivery, spectacular precision, delightful commentary, and a wide range of guitar techniques, Duo Noire produced another engaging and profoundly enjoyable program. After all its applause, the audience was rewarded with an elegant version of “The St. Louis Blues” which, like Piazzolla’s tango, was all dressed up for the concert hall.
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."
The Saint Louis American: Saint Louis Classical Guitar Society Welcomes Duo Noire to Town
"In the ten years since classical guitarists Thomas Flippin and Chris Mallett formed Duo Noire, they have become trailblazers."
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."
"Thomas Flippin and Chris Mallett of Duo Noire are the kind of teaching artists that the guitar world desperately needs now. They’re both fantastic recitalists and teaching artists, equally loved by students and community audiences alike. Reach out to them—they belong on your next series!"
-Wiliiam Ash, Executive Director of the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society
"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