Hunter Noack is a native Oregonian and an internationally acclaimed concert pianist who integrates literature, visual art, dance, theater and design in his presentations of classical music.
Winner of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition in 2011, Noack studied at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory and received a bachelor’s degree from University of Southern California. “During my years at USC, I saw more theater than classical concerts,” says Noack. “My friends were always independently producing plays wherever they could – McDonagh’s Pillowman in an east LA warehouse, Chekov’s The Seagull in an abandoned downtown hotel. Their shows were cool, scrappy and full of energy. I began doing sound design and composing for their short films and plays. I loved being a part of their work so I asked them to be a part of mine. Actors read poetry and monologues and I started to experiment with lighting, alternative programming and program notes, to make the piano recital more theatrical.”
In 2011 Noack produced an immersive play inspired by Maurice Ravel’s tone poem for piano, Gaspard de la Nuit, with playwright Joel Heinrich. The Sister premiered at SOMArts downtown San Francisco to a sell-out audience that travelled from room to room following the action of the play.
Noack then moved to London to explore the relationship between classical music and theatre in an academic environment at Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD). There he premiered 3 works for the BBC, represented GSMD at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague for a 10-day improvisation conference, performed throughout Europe with his chamber group The Venari Trio, and won the 2013 Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s coLABorate Award receiving resources to experiment with atypical formats for presenting live classical music. The coLABorate Award led to Noack’s production Transfigured Night, a dramatization of Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht, which premiered in April 2014 at the Barbican Center for a sold out, four-performance run. Six musicians and two actors brought the string sextet to life, with the audience scattered among the 50 trees of a nighttime forest. Transfigured Night offered audiences a multi-sensory experience through use of immersive set, lighting, and costume design. Musical Opinion magazine called Transfigured Night, “daring and poetic…a very auspicious debut indeed.” NPR’s Ari Shapiro said, “Fresh, creative productions like this are what keeps London’s art scene vibrant.”
In February 2016 Hunter was artist in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity where he collaborated with film maker Huei Lin—an active member of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation—to create a music video based on Fazil Say’s solo piano piece, Kara Toprak. video link: https://youtu.be/-rjZg2Ov1TE
In August 2016, Hunter Noack presented nine WPA-inspired classical music concerts in spectacular and unusual outdoor locations within 75 miles of Portland, Oregon. The concert series was called IN A LANDSCAPE: Classical Music in the Wild, and was made possible by an initial grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), with additional support from local philanthropists and partnerships with state and local parks and businesses. To counter the acoustic challenges of performing outdoors, and drawing inspiration from silent discos, audiences were provided wireless headphones. Instruments and musicians were fitted with microphones that transmit to the headphones, giving audiences the freedom to wander through secret glens, lie in sunny meadows, roam in old growth forests. In this way, the music became a live soundtrack accompanying each person’s outdoor odyssey and the concert location itself was as important as the music played. In the spirit of the WPA’s Federal Music and Theatre Projects, which presented thousands of free concerts and plays in theaters, public spaces and parks across the country during the Depression, a donation-based reservation system allowed people to reserve tickets for free, as well as for a recommended donation of $25. Every concert of the ten-day series was sold-out before the first show began. Over 1000 people from at least 3 countries, 8 states, 13 Oregon counties and 34 Oregon cities made reservations, doubling the expected attendance.
In April 2017, IN A LANDSCAPE concerts were presented in conjunction with the inaugural season of Desert X, an art biennial of outdoor art installations in the Coachella Valley. In December 2017, IN A LANDSCAPE will be presented at Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii as part of Noack’s residency with the National Parks Arts Foundation.