I have always been a fan of Katie Noonan, ever since I first heard George in 1998, when I fell deeply in love with their song Special Ones. It wasn’t until 2004 with the release of Two of a Kind that realized Katie’s mum was Maggie Noonan the Concert Soprano and Opera singer. This explained a lot to me. There always seemed to be a classical element to Katie’s music and I now understood where it came from.
I had the pleasure of meeting Katie last year at the ARIA Awards and she did not disappoint. She was as charming and down to earth as I expected her to be.
Katie’s recent collaboration with Karin Schaupp titled Songs of the Southern Skies was released today and she recently agreed to answer some questions for classikON. Katie speaks of her love of classical music and the role it’s played in her life, family and career.
What is your earliest memory of classical music?
Watching my mother transform from my mum in an apron making dinner to Madame Butterfly in Puccini’s iconic opera! I was instantly inspired by the escapism and the enormous scope of classical music.
While your music is not defined by one genre, how has classical music influenced your choices in writing and performing music?
Classical music is my first love. I remember the first time I heard Bach and thought that nothing more beautiful could possibly exist! I was the daggy teenager walking around with my Walkman listening to Vivaldi and Handel.
The Four Seasons literally changed my life – it is quite perfect.
Are you likely to record another album with your mother?
It was amazing to share the studio and stage with the woman that helped make me the musician and singer I am today. Never say never to another collaboration – family and music is a wonderful combination, so who knows!
What is your favourite piece of classical music?
If I had to pick one piece it would probably be The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. But others would Bach’s St Matthew passion, Julius Caesar by Handel, Les Illuminations by Benjamin Britten, Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy and The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky.
When do you listen to classical music?
All the time! In the car driving is one of my favourite times – I am currently learning The Wild Swans suite by Elena Kats Chernin so that is on high rotation at the moment!
What influence has classical music had on your current album?
Well the current album is quite deeply rooted in the classical tradition in that all the arrangements were written for classical guitar and myself. Karin Schaupp is a wonderful virtuosic guitarist and it has been a joy exploring the world of the classical guitar! On the album some of the pieces are purely classical (for example our world premiere piece written for us by Elena Kats Chernin) and others are a bit of a combo where I mix my classical bel canto technique, with my own improvisatory style.