Chris Noble


Chris is 1/4 of Platform 4 Contemporary Composers, an incredible jazz pianist and teacher, an ABRSM Examiner and on top of that he plays bass and French Horn too! Let's find out more...

So, what do you do as a musician in Sheffield?

I'm a composer (one quarter of Platform 4), arranger, teacher / educator, jazz pianist and sometime amateur French hornist.

What's your most memorable musical experience in the city?

1)The first performance of my jazz opera Walk All Over Me in 2002 at the University Drama Studio was an incredible experience – my first large-scale performance was frought with difficulties in rehearsal, but when it all came together on the night it was incredible.

2) My old pop band Screaming Maldini put on an electric-prom-style concert in the cathedral in 2010 and it was remarkable.  I had done most of the arrangements, and the coming together of band plus orchestra in front of a full house was immensely satisfying and an experience I'll never forget.

3) This year I had the pleasure of composing for Ensemble 360 as part of their Russia in the Round festival at the Crucible.  To work with such incredible professionals was very gratifying, and a fabulous opportunity.

Which 3 musical guests would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

I'll limit it to living musicians!  Herbie Hancock, because he's not only an idol of mine but a fantastic musician and quasi-philosophist, so he'd certainly have some interesting things to say; Steve Reich – his music completely changed my perspective on minimalism and C20th music generally, plus he seems pretty cool; and Jacob Collier, because he really is an incredible talent.  He talks with great enthusiasm about the most complex jazz harmony – now that's my kind of dinner table chatter.

If you had to play another instrument, what would it be?

Double Bass, without a doubt.  I can play a little bit of bass guitar amongst jazzers (I'm not that good), but really, to be part of the bottom end of an orchestra would be great fun, I imagine.

What was the first record you ever bought?

It was "Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out" by Freak Power.  I bought it from WHSmith in Tewkesbury.  I had to take it back because they'd put the wrong cassette in, which was Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers.  Don't regret it.  Could've been worse, my best mate bought something by the puppets Zig & Zag.

What’s your favourite music venue in Sheffield and why?

The Upper Chapel provides the most lovely atmosphere for any concert. Plus from a practical point of view it's got a fantastic grand piano.

What's your first musical memory?

My Mum teaching me the piano, sitting me on her lap whilst I mercilessly bashed the life out of the keys.

Who has been your most inspiring music teacher?

I suppose again I'd have to say Mum – without her I'd never have learnt an instrument.  When I went to uni, Alan Eost took over and boy did he teach me the value of discipline in practice.

In your opinion, which other ensemble/musician in Sheffield is doing great things?

Hallam Sinfonia consistently punch well above the weight of any amateur orchestra – their last concert containing Shostakovich 10 was blistering.

Sell your next concert to us in one sentence.

Come and see Jazz Journeys at the Albert Hall on November 13th - it's my composition for 600 kids, commissioned by the joint music hubs of South Yorkshire. It'll be amazing.

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