Chris NORMAN - David GREENBERG: DUO - 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. These two extraordinary performers have played together as sparring partners for more than 20 years on the concert stage and recording studio.
Chris Norman – Flutes, pipes, vocals, flute maker, composer
Powered by his love and mastery of the simple wooden flute, Christopher Norman has become one of the worlds most respected and beloved musicians over the past three decades. With his critically praised work as a composer, performer, teacher, flute-maker and builder of a musical community, Chris has influenced the way people hear, learn, play and appreciate music. Born in Halifax, Chris developed an early passion for traditional forms of Maritime, Celtic and French Canadian musical styles. As a performer and composer, he is a champion and standard-bearer for these forms while simultaneously exploring their boundaries and fusing them to classical styles. The recipient of numerous grants and commissions, Chris has shared his creativity and ingenuity around the world in the form of compositions featured on National Public Radio, the CBC, the BBC, and concert halls from Canada to New Zealand. His composing and playing have also appeared in more than 40 commercially released CDs which range from solo efforts to recordings as part of a duo or ensemble. His recorded work has earned numerous awards, including Indie Awards for best Celtic Album and best Seasonal Album, and a CBC Listeners Choice Award in 1994.
Chris’s versatility and virtuosity extend from the recording studio to the stage where he has led and partnered with some of the world’s most respected musicians. He maintains a busy concert schedule as a solo performer and tours as a duo with violinist David Greenberg and his eponymous group The Chris Norman Ensemble. He has also been a prominent player in international touring ensembles such as Helicon, Skyedance, the Baltimore Consort and Scotland’s Concerto Caledonia.
In each of these performance contexts, Chris’s work has consistently stood out and delighted audiences, critics and musical scholars. Throughout his career, he has drawn enthusiastic reviews praising him for both his technical skill and his interpretive abilities. The New Yorker described him as “a flute player of spectacular and imaginative virtuosity” while the Washington Post places him “in a class by himself for the agility, the expressiveness, the subtlety of dynamics and phrasing that he generates”. His music has reached the ears of audiences far beyond fans of traditional and classical music. His album Man with the Wooden Flute was a crossover success that appeared on the Billboard charts in 1992 and he has performed on several film soundtracks including Soldier, and Stone of Destiny and Titanic.
Chris has achieved impressive success as a composer and performer, but as a measure of his importance in the music world, these accomplishments tell only a part of the story. He is a maker not only of music with the flute, but of flutes themselves, fashioning bespoke instruments designed specifically for each customer. In this pursuit he has received mentorship from prominent flute-makers Rod Cameron and Robert Bigio. He is well versed in traditional machining techniques as well as CNC and 3D modeling, and is a talented hand-engraver of his silverwork in a flare-cut style, having studied under master engravers Sam Alfano, Diane Scalese, and Rod Cameron. His contribution to the music community also includes the Boxwood Festival and Workshop, a weeklong celebration of traditional music that has taken place in Canada for the past 21 years, as well as in the USA, New Zealand and Australia. As founder and director of the festival, Chris unites and inspires musicians, teachers, academics, flute-makers and engages a multi-generational, multi-disciplinary community – an achievement that is the subject of a documentary film set for release in 2017. In recognition of his significant, unique and wide-ranging achievements as a performer, composer, teacher of music, creator of instruments and builder of the music community, he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contribution to the arts in Canada in 2012, and awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by Dalhousie University in 2015.
- bio adapted from the Dalhousie University commencement, 2015
David Greenberg - baroque violin , octave violin, Cape Breton fiddle
David Greenberg is a baroque violinist and fiddler in the Cape Breton and 18th-century Scottish styles. He grew up in Maryland, learning violin from age four and exploring various fiddling styles early on. David studied baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie at Indiana University in the 1980s and joined Tafelmusik for ten years, 1988-1998. He co-authored the influential treatise on Cape Breton fiddling, The DunGreen Collection with Kate Dunlay. He co-founded several music ensembles, including the Medieval Quintet, Puirt a Baroque, Ferintosh, and Tempest Baroque Ensemble. David performs regularly with Chris Norman, Red Priest, and Tempest. He is featured on dozens of recordings, including those with Seattle Baroque, Apollo's Fire, Ensemble Caprice, Les Voix Humaines, La Nef, Toronto Consort, Doug MacPhee, Suzie LeBlanc, Chris Norman, and Concerto Caledonia. David is also a prolific composer of tunes in the Cape Breton style, having penned many that have been widely recorded, played and admired.
"These two well-traveled musicians are convincing, entertaining ambassadors for the wide-ranging facets of early music, music of the Canadian Maritimes, and traditional Scottish music they played. . . [Their] Telemann was sheerest pleasure, with its effortless tunefulness and sparely, brilliantly sketched harmonic framework. . . David Greenberg’s agile partnering of Chris Norman and his various sizes of flute left listeners with the impression of two lithely vocal lines with sweetly complimentary harmonics and interlocking, subtle fundamentals. This was magical, in fact. . . I enjoyed every minute of it, and was particularly impressed by the seamless transitions among the various styles included in the concert. The evening was brilliantly programmed and executed by the duo." - - Boston Musical Intelligencer
Chris and David are the consummate entertainment package with virtuosic skill and engaging charisma. . . Their love for their music is enticing and one is easily caught up and hooked into their passion. . . . A memorable concert. - - Bay Chronicle, New Zealand
This remarkable recording, Let Me In This Ae Night, signals a new breakthrough in drawing various genres of music onto one canvas. Scottish and baroque music are the main root elements. Much more than a ‘cross-over’ recording, this project embodies the ideals of rhetoric and rhythm that are rarely heard in today’s scene, regardless of the genre. The complete absence of other accompaniment heightens the intensity of the musical conversation taking place, and these two artists are taking chances and playing with an abandon that is quite stunning. . . it is a recording that every flute or fiddle player should own, enjoy and learn from.
- - Flute: Journal of the British Flute Society
“one of the most impassioned folk-fiddlers you’ll ever hear”. - Chronicle Herald Halifax
"In the spotlight on several numbers was flutist/bagpiper Chris Norman. Norman is a commanding, expressive player. He sails through dances with endless energy, giving the sort of continuous circular motion to his phrases that makes it tough to just sit still and listen. These pieces demand actual dancing. Norman plays with the expressive freedom of a singer and the improvisational freedom of a jazz player. He manages colorful, controlled sounds and accurate pitch even from instruments as unwieldy as the bellows-operated bagpipes or as cantankerous as a keyless Renaissance flute." -- Milwaukee Sentinel
Australia & New Zealand: