Since moving to New York City from Australia 12 years ago, trumpeter/educator Nadje Noordhuis has taken the jazz trumpet world by storm. After attending Manhattan School of Music, Nadje quickly became a sought after voice on the New York jazz scene for her unique sound, musicality and technique. During her time at Manhattan School of Music, she formed a strong friendship to master trumpeter and educator, Laurie Frink, who passed away in 2013. After her passing, Nadje began to continue to carry Laurie’s torch by helping to coordinate The Laurie Frink Brass Summit and deeply involved with The Laurie Frink Career Grant. Nadje has also been an imperative part of the FONT Music leadership team, in addition to being a performer for the festival many times over the past few years. We recently caught up with Nadje about her music, life and Laurie – here’s what came out…
Thanks for answering some questions for us Nadje – We know you have a long history with FONT Music, give us the rundown for our readers as to what you’ve done with FONT Music in the past:
As of this year, I’m a board member for FONT. I’m such a fan of this festival and have checked out performances every year since I moved to New York in 2003, and it’s incredible that now I’m in a position to help achieve the goals of this organization.
I first performed in 2009 as the FONT commissioned artist for that year – that was an unexpected honor for me. It was first time I performed with a small group in New York under my own name, and it helped me solidify what I wanted to do in terms of my own music. It was also at the 2012 FONT festival that I performed for the first time with vibraphonist James Shipp – we have been playing regularly ever since and are headed into the recording studio soon. I performed in 2013 as part of Henry Brant’s 52 trumpets extravaganza, and again in 2014 with my quintet as part of the series curated by Jeremy Pelt.
So what’s new with your music and your career these days?:
This past year I have been increasing my teaching workload. I took a few years off from having students, but since her passing, have tried hard to expand my knowledge in how to teach brass through an individual tailored approach and by problem solving. I teach privately, for the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Program, and with the environmental arts group Bash The Trash. I’m also a teaching artist with the NY Pops, specifically working with school brass sections in middle and high schools. As well as gigging around the US and teaching masterclasses with my own quintet, I’ve also been busy with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra, and Rudy Royston’s 303, among others.
Tell us a little bit about your history with Laurie Frink:
Laurie was my teacher while I studied at Manhattan School of Music from 2003-05. Most people who studied with her say this – her lessons were like an oasis from the troubles of the world. I would walk into her studio with the weight of the world on my shoulders and walk out with a big smile. We chatted a lot in lessons about life, our struggles in being women musicians in jazz, and about very important things like great coffee and chocolate. She was inspirational, rock steady, and so incredibly funny. I miss her a lot.
How did your time with Laurie affect you as a teacher:
I have been teaching several students that have had particular chop problems or unusual playing habits, and I’m trying to channel Laurie in these lessons to help them achieve their musical goals.
You are deeply involved in The Laurie Frink Career Grant and Brass Summit, can you tell us about these two awesome things:
The Laurie Frink Career Grant was founded in 2014 by her long-term partner, Lois Martin, to continue Laurie’s legacy in helping young brass players to achieve great things. The first $10K grant was awarded last year to trumpeter Riley Mulherkar, and applications will be open in 2016 for the next one. There’s a small team of us administrating the grant who were close to Laurie, and it feels wonderful to be a part of this life-changing project. The Laurie Frink Brass Summit is the result of an idea I had at the gym – probably the most effective workout I’ve ever had! It’s basically a bunch of around 25 musicians and a special celebrity brass expert, and we talk about top secret brass stuff. It’s great fun, and a wonderful way to foster the community in the way that Laurie always did.
I’m currently plotting and planning my next quintet+guests record, trying to promote my latest album, “Ten Sails” with pianist Luke Howard, and working hard to become the best teacher and player that I can.
Check out this recording from her new album “Ten Sails” with Luke Howard: