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Music teaches us how to listen and how to make friends.

There are no greater skills in life than these.


 Manhattan School of Music, Precollege Division 
 Evening Faculty Recital 

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 Wolfgang Jacobi - Kleine Stücke (1932) 
 [performance begins at 54:20

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“A monumental force of ideas and energy” (Saxophone Journal), James Noyes has performed with the Long Island Philharmonic, Juilliard Symphony, Argento New Music Project, New York Arts Ensemble, David Amram, Rosemary Clooney, Safe Sax Jazz Quintet, the Doobie Brothers, and many more. He led the SURGE Saxophone Quartet to a first prize at the 28th Artists International Chamber Music Competition, performing to a sold-out Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall). Noyes is recognized for a sound that is both “entrancing in its dreamy melancholy” (New York Concert Review) and a “shape-shifting mass of pure expression” (I Care if You Listen). Several composers have written works for him, including Steve Cohen, Paul Kirby, and Eric Nathan. His articles are published in Musical Quarterly, Saxophone Symposium, Saxophone Journal and Saxophone Today (columnist). He is currently completing Elise Hall: La Dame au Saxophone, a biography of the world’s first female orchestral saxophonist. Dr. Noyes teaches at William Paterson University (saxophone) and Manhattan School of Music, Precollege Division (theory, ear training, saxophone) and is the former Artistic Director of Music at Our Saviour's Atonement (MOSA), a concert series in Upper Manhattan. He is also author of over fifty musical compositions. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music where his teachers were Paul Cohen (saxophone), Nils Vigeland (theory), and Kenneth Cooper (performance practice).

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Working With Composers
Grana - Saxophone Quartet (premiere perf

Edgar David Grana
@ William Paterson University

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Student Composers
@ Manhattan School of Music, Precollege Division

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James Noyes
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From the CD release concert - -

"What really differentiates Noyes from other saxophonists is his unusual partnership with his instrument. The saxophone allows for a great range of individuality, but rarely is it as much of a sonic chameleon as it is in Noyes’ hands. He turns his instrument into a shapeshifting mass of pure expression. One moment it is a flute, the next a clarinet, the next an oboe…then it’s something you haven’t heard before, something thick with harmonics like a Tuvan throat-singer one moment and then thin, sharp and laser-like the next. But a moment later it’s a saxophone again, either clear and controlled in a classical style, or gritty, wailing and bluesy. This isn’t to say that Noyes is derivative, or inconsistent…his voice is always present, his unique singing tone a continuous line through the changing soundscapes."

- - Evan Burke (I Care if You Listen)


Artists International Presentations, Inc., was a nonprofit organization that promoted exceptionally talented artists from all over the world from 1972 to 2009, including musicians from The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. In 2000, SURGE became the first and only Saxophone Quartet to be featured on Artists International's New York Debut Winners Series. Before a sold-out audience at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the quartet made its historic performance of five recently-written works by five New York City composers, all of whom were in attendance. Composer comments are listed below.


SURGE has found a true feel for my piece.  I’m glad they did!  --Elijah Yarbrough

Each player in SURGE has a virtuoso’s technical command of his instrument, and is capable of an astonishing range of color, dynamics, and nuance.  As an ensemble the players bring their many strengths together, along with a great capacity to understand and respond to the music they play, and the ability to convey their insights to the listener.  Their ability to blend and balance with each other would be the envy of any number of string quartets. --Steve Cohen


I am indebted to Jim Noyes and SURGE for devoting so much time, energy and talent to giving my Saxophone Quartet the best possible performance.  During early rehearsals they helped me shape the definitive notation by willingly experimenting with different sounds, attacks, dynamics, and tempi.   Their close attention to ensemble playing and sound quality makes them ideal interpreters of my music. --Ruth Mueller-Maerki.


I am pleased to be on this program of new works by SURGE, a new quartet of talented young musicians who are doing exactly what I always think young (and older) musicians should be doing—concentrating on the music of their own time. --Nils Vigeland


I have served plenty of free beer to SURGE. They owe me multiple performances.  --Dick Miller

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