Echo Ensemble launches free online concerts
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead Garden Suburb composer and conductor Noah Max asked musicians around the world to contribute to The Echo Chamber’s exclusive weekly YouTube programmes
Like many musicians, Noah Max has been struggling with the sudden halt to live performances since lockdown.
The composer and conductor had to lay off friends and colleagues as concerts and a recording were cancelled last month.
But the Hampstead Garden Suburb resident is now offering them a platform by curating free concert programmes throughout April.
He has launched The Echo Chamber, an online concert series available from the YouTube channel of his orchestra the Echo Ensemble.
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“We have spent our lives training so we can give what’s inside us to other people and are now prevented from doing that,” he says.
“It is devastating and painful to see everything cancelled. Isolation amounts to a ‘dry spell’ for both musicians and listeners: devoid of culture, music and other things which make life worth living. All I am doing is allowing the artists in my life who I admire to express themselves.”
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Max says that while London was a draw for freelance musicians because there was so much going on, they are now “struggling to make ends meet”.
Some have been quick to move teaching online while others are desperate to have their music heard.
“The Echo Chamber was born from my having to cancel people’s work, they wanted to go on and create something of value to audiences. I felt I had to do something I couldn’t just roll over. This will allow the artists that I work with regularly to perform exclusive content.
Max asked friends and colleagues across the world “to record the performances they were about to do or the repertoire they were working on and send it to me.”
The result has been a stream of material, from solo performances to multi-track recordings and work with pre-recorded elements.
Running every Wednesday night in April, the first 50 minute concert goes out on April 1 featuring eight musicians. It will then be available on the YouTube.
“It’s a more eclectic range in terms of programme, musicians, and timbres than you would ever get in real life. I was determined to offer it for free.
The ex Golders Hill primary pupil grew up in the Suburb and still lives with his mother and cellist and conductor father Robert Max.
He founded the ensemble in 2016 after training at the Purcell School. He named it after a piece of music he wrote Three Echoes performed by 12 musicians.
“I am still proud of that piece, the Ensemble grew from there and we did our debut concert in London in March 2017 with a mission to bring new work to show the world.”
As a boy he attended the annual St Jude’s Proms where his father played in the first ever prom. And it was an exciting to be asked to open the Proms in June 2018.
“We were set to close it this year and perform at the last night, hopefully that will be carried over to 2021.
“It’s a lovely festival and part of why the suburb is a beautiful inspiring place for anyone musical to grow up.”
Currently supporting his elderly grandparents during lockdown, he says his parents and brother are enduring in musical style.
“In isolation we need to protect our physical health but it’s equally detrimental to our mental wellbeing, a lot of people are suffering with loneliness and anxiety as a knock on effect.
“My mum as much as my dad are fantastic musicians as is my brother Hugo who plays with Echo, they are all sight reading piano trios to pass the time.
Echo Chamber Concerts are at 7:30pm on Wednesdays throughout April. youtu.be/IC0Nw0YKhdY