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Combining cinematic sweep, transportive emotion, and rich melodic grandeur, Australian-born trumpeter/composer Nadje Noordhuis possesses one of the most unforgettably lyrical voices in modern music. Her deeply-felt, clarion tone and evocative compositional gift meld classical rigor, jazz expression, and world music accents into a sound that is distinctively her own.
Noordhuis’ duo album with Australian pianist/composer Luke Howard, “Ten Sails” features ten exquisite miniatures recorded in a Berlin apartment in the summer of 2014. Her long-awaited self-titled debut was released in 2012 on Little Mystery Records. Featuring the stellar line-up of violinist Sara Caswell, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Obed Calvaire, with appearances by percussionist James Shipp and classical guitarist Rupert Boyd, the recording is a luxurious autobiography in music. Composed over the course of a decade, the album’s eight songs incorporate gorgeous melodies, lush romanticism, vibrant improvisation, and influences ranging from Pat Metheny to Irish folk songs to tango to film scores.
Noordhuis performs regularly with several big bands, including the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, the Diva Jazz Orchestra, and Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra. She also performs with Rudy Royston 303, and the Anat Cohen Tentet. She has recently recorded for Sting, and for the Hamilton musical breakout star, Leslie Odom Jr.
Noordhuis’ journey has taken her from a youth spent studying classical music in her native Australia to a headlong dive into the world of jazz that has earned her acclaim in the music’s mecca, New York. She was one of ten semi-finalists in the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition and was selected as a Carnegie Hall Young Artist to undertake a weeklong residency with trumpet great Dave Douglas in 2010. Also in 2007, she attended an eclectic residency at the Omi International Arts Center in upstate New York, where she forged musical and personal bonds with singer-songwriters, a South African minimalist composer, an Irish flutist, a French flamenco guitarist, and a trombonist experimenting with electronic music.
As a composer, Noordhuis has been commissioned by the Sydney-based Baroque ensemble ThoroughBass and the new music ensemble ExhAust, and was awarded a small ensemble commission at the 2009 Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT). She has also arranged a suite of traditional Portuguese Fado songs for a large band and composed for Glass + Brass, which featured exploratory music performed on Australian glass instruments.
Her penchant for writing music that conjures vivid imagery makes Noordhuis ideally suited for composing in visual media. She composed a live score for the award-winning film The Projectionist, performed at the 2005 New York Foreign Exchange Film Festival, as well as a suite accompanying an animated slideshow of streetscape photography.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Noordhuis has had a lifelong although rocky relationship with music. She started playing classical piano at two years old and entered the Yamaha Music School at three. Returning from a family vacation at the age of seven, she was shocked to discover that her long-time piano teacher and her trumpet-player husband had been killed in a car accident. Asked to choose a band instrument in the third grade, she picked up the trumpet in his honor.
She attended a series of musically-oriented schools, but briefly gave up playing altogether to earn a degree in sound engineering and multi-media. Finding little opportunity in either field after graduation, she was inspired by Miles Davis’ landmark Kind of Blue to move to Melbourne and study jazz improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she graduated with Honors. While attending a summer jazz workshop at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, she was invited by a visiting faculty member to further her studies at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Noordhuis relocated to New York in 2003 and completed her Masters, studying trumpet with Laurie Frink and composition with Ludmilla Ulehla.
Nadje Noordhuis is a Schagerl® Artist and plays their Penelope model trumpet.