DUO NOIRE is comprised of the groundbreaking American classical guitarists Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett. Formed while both were attending the Yale School of Music as the first African American guitarists in the university's history, their name translates as both "black" and "quarter note." Duo Noire has been hailed as a "virtuosic pair" and has gone on to perform across the U.S. at prestigious venues such as the Norfolk Music Festival, the 92nd Street Y, the Times Center, and for the St. Louis Guitar Society as Artists-in-Residence.
Their debut recording, Figments, featured music written for them by the award-winning Juilliard composer Raymond Lustig and was praised by I Care if You Listen for its "impressive technique...Flippin and Mallett definitely don't disappoint." The album has been featured on WNYC, WQXR, and Radio Arts Foundation St Louis. Additionally, the duo has been featured in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar Magazine, Gendai Guitar, and on the cover of the Guitar Foundation of America's quarterly journal Soundboard.
After obtaining undergraduate degrees from the University of Chicago and Oberlin College, Flippin and Mallett each gathered a number of awards, including prizes from the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, the Brownsville Guitar Competition, the East Carolina University Guitar Competition, the University of Chicago's Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Composition Prize, and Yale University's Eliot Fisk Prize for an "outstanding guitarist." In 2008, the duo was awarded a highly competitive Yale Alumni Ventures grant which funded an outreach tour across New England and reached over 2,500 underserved students.
Collectively, Flippin and Mallett have performed for several prestigious music festivals and guitar master classes, including: The Aspen Music Festival with Sharon Isbin, the Peabody Summer Guitar Master class with Manuel Barrueco, Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, Christopher Parkening, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, among others.
Currently, Flippin is on faculty at the Diller Quaile School of Music in NYC, and Mallett is the co-founder and director of the California Conservatory of Guitar in San Francisco.
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, Review: Figments
"A substantial piece...captured in crystalline sound...DUO NOIRE are to be congratulated for their work."
CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE, Norwegian Wood
"The superb guitarist...Christopher Mallett."
"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
News & Updates
Duo Noire in Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
5/21-5/25: Duo Noire China Tour
5/21- 19:30, The Bookworm, Beijing
5/22- 19:00, Peking University, Beijing
5/23- 19:30, Inside-Out Theatre, Beijing
5/24: 15:30, The Clubhouse, Chateau Regalia, Beijing
1/24/15 DUO NOIRE ON THE COVER OF SOUNDBOARD.
PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY THE GUITAR FOUNDATION OF AMERICA.
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."
Figments 7E / Harlem NY
"This was one of the best assemblies for our students in my 23 years as an administrator here."
Logos Therapeutic School Administrator, St. Louis, MO
Since 2008, Duo Noire has been touring the U.S. to bring high level classical music to low-income areas. This began when Yale awarded one of its inaugural Alumni Ventures Grants to the duo, which allowed them to perform 15 concerts in New England, reaching over 2,000 students. This work has continued since 2011 through a biennial Artist Residency organized by the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society. Each visit to St. Louis has Duo Noire working with and learning from local community members, and performing for a broad spectrum of economic and racial backgrounds, with the guitar's versatility and worldly heritage acting as the gateway to all peoples.
See sample testimonials and photos below:
"I just wanted to thank you both again for a wonderful Duo Noire performance on Wednesday. I saw the kids yesterday who were in the first group, sixth graders. They were so excited still and enjoyed talking about it all over again. I don't think any of them had ever had the opportunity to hear anything like it. It made it so special for them to be up close and personal. I'm glad we kept the intimate setting, but sad that more kids did not have the chance to hear you. I also thought you were incredibly relaxed and easy with the kids. It was a very gentle style, punctuated with humor, and it really touched them. I would love to have you back again."
Chris Patella, Music Director, Thomas Hooker School. Bridgeport, CT.
"Thank you very much for both Duo Noire presentations made today at Hamden High School. I felt that the students enjoyed the music and learned a lot. The music you played and the concepts you talked about were very appropriate and in line with what I try to teach my students in my classes; not to mention your professionalism along with your ability to relate to and connect with high school students. It might sound simple but it is not always easy to accomplish especially in such a short period of time. The work that you do with the Yale Music in Schools program is fantastic."
David Syzdek, Band Director. Hamden High School, CT.
"We started this program after taking Chris Mallett and Thomas Flippin – Guitar Duo Noire – to visit nine St. Louis City schools. Both students and teachers responded with terrific enthusiasm! We found three music teachers who told us they’d love to start guitar programs in their schools."
William Ash, President of the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society.