Chris Norman
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Chris Norman

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Music

Press


"CD Review"

"A musician like Chris Norman comes along, oh, perhaps once in a century. He's the kind of player whose virtuosity serves the music without becoming the performance itself; whose exceptional technique not only is of the 'he's so good he makes it sound easy' variety, but also frees the music to reel out as if it, the instrument, and the player were one communicative entity." - None


"Green Man Review"

"Chris Norman is one of the most exciting flute players today... [He] is able to create so much expression with grace and clarity in his playing, and he knows how to arrange a tune for maximum impact and effect.... It's obvious when listening to Norman play that he has a deep and irrevocable connection to folk music. Whether playing an Irish, Canadian, or American tune, Norman captures the essence of the people behind the music in his delightful phrasing, gentle lilt, and unquestionable passion. Norman's clear, pure tone is matched only by the soul he breathes into his music." - None


"Dirty Linen"

" . . .exquisite . . . [on Highlands] Norman's flute playing is so strong and engaging that it takes an effort to realize there is an orchestra with him." - None


"Washington Post"

" ... you might describe Chris Norman as the Jean-Pierre Rampal or the James Galway of the wooden flute . . . he is in a class by himself for the agility, the expressiveness, the subtlety of dynamics and phrasing that he generates . . ." - None


"Cleveland Plain Dealer"

" . . .The Chris Norman Ensemble wondrously demonstrated that classical and folk need not necessarily be separate entities at all. They can intertwine to enchanting effect . . . Norman's agility with his wooden flutes was exceptional, as was his way of conveying the expressive heart of each piece. He has formed a marvelous ensemble of like-minded musicians." - None


"The New Yorker"

" . . . a flute player of spectacular and imaginative virtuosity." - None


"Halifax Mail Star"

"The finest wooden flute player in the world . . . and few that have heard him play would dispute that description." - None


"Billboard"

"Norman stands out for his spirited eclecticism ... His rootsy heritage shines through in every nuanced embellishment, trill, triple tonguing, and silky slide. It's clear that Norman is having a ball, with the chops to make it sound effortless." - None


"Pittsburgh Post Gazette"

Chris Norman Ensemble

Experimental theater and early music? It was not as odd a coupling as it might sound Saturday night at Synod Hall as the Chris Norman Ensemble debuted a new program. Dubbed by flutist Norman as a work in progress, the lighthearted concert centered on the life, writings and music of the 18th-century playwright Oliver Goldsmith.

The Irishman is remembered today for "She Stoops to Conquer," but Goldsmith had quite a journey to get to that status. That included an actual tour of the continent as a youth, surviving on the pittance from playing the flute. Later he wrote broadside ballads, funny street ditties relating news.

The concert, presented by the Renaissance & Baroque Society, had a relatively novel format. It consisted of Goldsmith's satirical travelogues, read with an inviting Irish accent by Gerrard Farrelly, each followed by a variety of music from the time, some popular and some higher-brow.

While it was a pleasure to hear the inner vivacity Norman generates on the various flutes, it was the understated and earthy approach of the whole group (vocals, double bass, da gamba, guitar, harpsichord, pump organ and percussion) that drew in the listener. Even with the droll (drinking songs) and the downright hilarious (broadside ballads), it was their groove that made the concert work.... Overall, however, it was a winning conception.

-- Andrew Druckenbrod,
Post-Gazette music critic
- None


Discography

In the Fields in Frost and Snow - The Chris Norman Ensemble

The Caledonian Flute - The Chris Norman Ensemble

Highlands - Chris Norman and Camarata Bariloche

Lullaby Journey - Chris Norman, Custer LaRue, Kim Robertson

Wind & Wire - Chris Norman and Byron Schenkman

Man With the Wooden Flute - Chris Norman, Robin Bullock, Pete S

The Beauty of the North - Chris Norman, Alasdair Fraser, Robin Bullock

Photos

Bio

Hailed as one of the finest flute players of our time, Chris Norman proves over and over again that the simple wooden flute is the original - and still unsurpassed - woodwind of expression, passion, joy and subtlety. His influential work as a performer, composer, recording artist and teacher has brought the simple wooden flute to the forefront as an alternative voice to the modern orchestral instrument.

Born in Halifax Nova Scotia, he began his musical studies at the age of ten. His interest in the traditional music of Maritime Canada; Scottish, Irish and French Canadian Styles, drew him from his early path studying classical flute. Chris embarked upon a quest to learn the music from the tradition bearers, travelling across North America and Europe. His subsequent work has redefined the boundaries of both traditional and classical styles, forging a synthesis that has been embraced by audiences, scholars, and critics of both schools.

His busy performing schedule includes solo engagements and concerts with a variety of ensembles, appearing frequently as soloist with orchestra and touring with his own Chris Norman Ensemble. In years past Chris has also appeared worldwide as a member of the international folk trio, Helicon, and the all-star Celtic fusion group, Skyedance, and the acclaimed early music group, The Baltimore Consort and across Europe with Concerto Caledonia.

Norman's flute playing can be heard featured in the Oscar winning soundtrack of Titanic as well as the 1998 Hollywood film, Soldier. His solo CD releases have received unanimous praise from critics and audiences alike. Man With the Wooden Flute made the Billboard crossover charts for 12 weeks. The Beauty of the North and The Flower of Port Williams are collections of music from Quebec and Maritime Canada. Lullaby Journey is a collaboration with soprano Custer LaRue and harpist Kim Robertson. Highlands includes three world premieres of folk inspired work for flute and string orchestra in collaboration with The Camarata Bariloche, Argentina's finest chamber orchestra. Most recently, the Boxwood Media Label has released The Caledonian Flute, hailed as ". . . the restoration of the flute to its proper place in the Scottish repertoire" (John Purser - noted author and musicologist) and In the fields in frost and snow, a Canadian roots musical celebration of the winter season.

As a composer Chris is the recipient of numerous grants and commissions, and recently premiered Out of Orkney, a tone poem for flute, harp, and string orchestra. His compositions have been featured on National Public Radio, the CBC in Canada and the BBC, as well as concert halls in Europe, North America Australia and New Zealand.

Chris regularly teaches master classes and has conducted symposia at many schools of music around the world. He has inspired thousands of musicians both young and old as the founder and director of the Boxwood Festival and Workshop. Boxwood has established a worldwide presence celebrating and sharing the music and traditions of the flute, inviting a multicultural and multi-disciplinary dialogue between performers, teachers, scholars, students, and makers of the flute through annual week-long festivals taking place in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Rotorua, New Zealand.

CHRIS NORMAN & DAVID GREENBERG

Two of the most imaginative and dynamic performers in traditional and early music join forces to present a program that runs the gamut from renaissance, baroque, traditional and original music incorporating flutes, violins, vielles, pipes, keyboards, and voice. David Greenberg has gained the reputation in Cape Breton music circles as being one of the few people from outside the Nova Scotia island to have achieved a fluent command of the Cape Breton idiom. He has been lauded as "one of the most impassioned folk-fiddlers you'll ever hear" (James Manishen, Winnipeg Free Press). These two extraordinary performers have played together as sparring partners for more than a decade on the concert stage and recording studio.

THE CHRIS NORMAN ENSEMBLE

With flutes, pipes, guitar, mandolin, mandola, harmonium, bass, percussion, drums & vocals, the Chris Norman Ensemble reaches across five centuries of traditional, Renaissance and Baroque music with a range of energetic programs. Their originality, intelligence, fun, and sheer mastery have won them respect from audiences, presenters, and colleagues alike in North America, Europe and Asia. At the heart of the group is Chris Norman, whose brilliant and imaginative flute playing has contributed to groups as diverse as The Baltimore Consort, Skyedance, Helicon, Chatham Baroque, Concerto Caledonia, as well as Hollywood soundtracks and seven solo recordings. His influential work as a performer, composer, educator, and director of the Boxwood Festival & Workshop has played a significant role in reviving the flute in traditional Scottish and Canadian music. The Ensemble's extraordinar