"Music teaches us how to listen, and how to make friends. There are no greater skills in life than these."
James Noyes is a native of Iowa City, where, at the age of ten, he chose to play alto saxophone in the elementary school band. Early in his career, Noyes was drawn to performing on many woodwinds, and became known as a skilled “doubler” on saxophones, clarinets, and flute. In this capacity, he landed his first professional job as a member of Disney’s All-American College Orchestra, where he performed with Rosemary Clooney, Maureen McGovern, Bill Conti, Roger Williams, The Dukes of Dixieland, Trumpets, and others. Since that time, Noyes has become a saxophone specialist, having appeared with the Long Island Philharmonic, Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia, Juilliard Wind Ensemble, American Brass Quintet, David Amram, New York Arts Ensemble, New Hudson Saxophone Quartet, Spirals, Safe Sax Jazz Quintet, Soul Gypsys, Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band, Funkenstein, Box Tops, Sam “Soul Man” Moore, and the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald. He gave his New York recital debut as leader of the SURGE Saxophone Quartet on 5 November 2000 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as winner of the Artists International competition.
Formerly on faculty at the Penn State School of Music in State College, PA, Dr Noyes currently resides in the Inwood section of New York City and serves on the faculties of William Paterson University, Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (former Theory Department Chair), Hunter College, and as Artistic Director of MOSA (Music at Our Saviour’s Atonement), a concert series in Washington Heights. In 2006, Noyes composed Equinox Liturgy with music, lyrics, and texts highlighting the theme: “All are ONE.” It draws inspiration from such diverse sources as John Coltrane, Erik Satie, Philip Glass, Marvin Gaye, J S Bach, Pink Floyd, Kenny Garrett, Claude Debussy, Björk, Johannes Brahms, Charles Ives, and Radiohead, as well as Taoism, Shambhala, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Baha’i, Hinduism, Transcendentalism and Christianity. A recording of this music was released in September 2009. Solo saxophone performances (with pianist Beth Robin) can be seen on WSKG’s live broadcast, “Expressions” (2011), and heard on his debut album, Imaginings (2012). His definitive research on Debussy’s Rapsodie pour Orchestre et Saxophone appears in The Musical Quarterly, and articles, interviews, and essays on many other subjects can be found in Saxophone Journal, Saxophone Symposium, Saxophone Aspect, Allegro, the North American Saxophone Alliance Newsletter, and at www.jamesnoyes.com.
Noyes presents guest lectures entitled “Discovering the Secret of Musical Composition,” which incorporates such diverse sources as Borodin, Debussy, Coltrane, Pascoal, Hendrix and Radiohead, and “Poe and Debussy, & their Rapsodie” which investigates Debussy’s obsession with Edgar Allen Poe. Noyes was also the former coordinator Henry Brant’s Double Saxophone Septet Project: Diving Whales and Flying Dolphins. Composers who have written for and dedicated works to James Noyes include: Steve Cohen, Jan Feddersen, Paul Kirby, Richard Miller, Ruth Mueller-Maerki, Eric Nathan, David Noon, Michael Patterson, Eric Schwartz, Rich Shemaria, and Elijah Yarbrough. Dr Noyes holds a degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota (BS), and degrees in Performance from Penn State University, and Manhattan School of Music. His teachers include John Anderson, Paul Cohen, Lynn Postudensek Hart, Ruben Haugen, David Liebman, and M. Daniel Yoder.