Noah Max

Composer, Conductor, Creative Director: Echo Ensemble

In a time of narrow specialisations, Noah Max is an exception to prove the modern rule: he began his musical life as a cellist and is now active as both composer and conductor. Either activity would be enough for most young musicians in their mid-twenties, but Max is also a poet, filmmaker and a remarkably accomplished artist. His paintings are explosions of colour and
energy; though they range from the representational to the abstract, they are linked by their sense of spontaneity. My guess is that this spontaneity allows the multiplicity of these talents to blossom and enables Noah’s creativity and relentless productivity to function without inhibition.

Noah Max was born in 1998 and grew up in a household of musicians in North London. His music has been performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall and the Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall in London as well as the Musikverein in Vienna, Uilenburgersjoel Synagogue in Amsterdam and the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poland. His works have featured in concerts curated by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Riot Ensemble. In 2021 his string trio Sojourn won The Clements Prize and was performed by members of the Piatti Quartet. Noah’s music is published by United Music Publishing and his debut album Songs of Loneliness was released on Toccata Classics in 2022. World premieres in 2023 include a Flute Concerto entitled Radical Severance (Anna Kondrashina and Echo Ensemble) and his String Quartets No. 2 (Tippett Quartet) and No. 3 (Brompton Quartet, Strad Magazine Premiere of the Month). He will be Composer-in-Residence at Thaxted Festival throughout 2023 and 2024.

Noah Max’s Jewish background forms an important part of his outlook. He has spent the last five years bringing his first opera A Child in Striped Pyjamas to the stage. This undertaking has strengthened his sense of Jewish identity and community. Noah was interviewed about the opera by The Sunday Times Culture, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and RTE Radio 1; the premiere production sold out six weeks in advance and the piece was excellently-reviewed in the national press.
As a conductor Noah Max has championed contemporary repertoire with Endymion Ensemble at Wigmore Hall, Divertimento Ensemble on tour through northern Italy and with his own Echo Ensemble which – pandemic notwithstanding – gave more than 50 world premieres in 2021. 

Noah was a Britten-Pears Young Artist mentored by Marin Alsop, a London Sinfonietta Academist, Assistant Conductor to Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo for their production of Handel’s Theodora at the BBC Proms in 2018 and Young Associate Conductor of Sir Matthew Bourne’s Oliver-winning ballet The Red Shoes in 2019–20.

Noah’s artwork has displayed at the National Portrait Gallery. Fellow composers who have set his poems to music include Ronald Corp OBE, Sarah Frances Jenkins and Zeo Fawcett. 

Biography by Martin Anderson