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 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 was the premiere recording of FIGMENTS, "a substantial piece...recorded in crystalline sound (Soundboard).” It was written for them by the award-winning Juilliard professor Raymond Lustig. The album was praised for its "impressive technique,” stating that “Flippin and Mallett definitely don't disappoint (I Care if You Listen)." FIGMENTS has been broadcast on WNYC, WQXR, Inside Classical Guitar with 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 a grant from NYC’s 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), Golfam Khayam, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz & Gabriella Smith. The project will culminate in a full length album and tour in 2017-2018.
Collectively, Flippin & Mallett’s playing has been called “lovely” (New York Times), "beautiful" (Classical Guitar Magazine), and “superb” (Soundboard). They have each collaborated with an array of acclaimed musicians, including MacArthur Genius pianist Jason Moran and Grammy-winning guitarist Bill Coulter. Both Flippin & Mallett have 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 Composition Prize, and Yale University's Eliot Fisk Prize for an "outstanding guitarist.”
As educators, Duo Noire have given lectures & master classes at Juilliard, Yale, St. Louis University and many more respective institutions. In 2008, they were awarded a highly competitive Yale Alumni Ventures grant which funded an outreach tour across New England and reached over 2,500 underserved students. Currently, Flippin is additionally on faculty at Concordia College in NY, and Mallett is faculty at the University of California Santa Cruz and is the director of the California Conservatory of Guitar. They both play 2016 Glenn Canin guitars.