We take look at one of our most versatile artists
Written by Barry O’Sullivan
Five-time ARIA award-winning artist Katie Noonan has proven herself to be one of Australia’s most hardworking, versatile, and prolific artists. Noonan grew up with a strong background in classical music, with her mother Maggie being a well-known opera singer. She studied opera and jazz at the Queensland Conservatorium’s Southbank Campus and in 2004 for ABC Music she recorded Two of a Kind with Maggie and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Noonan has a long-standing relationship with several state arts bodies, in particular the Sydney Symphony, the Queensland Orchestra, the Australian String Quartet, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Noonan was musical director of, and performed at, the 2018 Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies.
Noonan has performed by invitation for members of the Danish and British Royal families, and His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. She has also collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on Luminous, the Sydney Symphony in Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations, and collaborated with the classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, an internationally sought-after recitalist and soloist. Their combined forces created a fresh spin on Latin jazz and classical pieces from the musical masters of South America on the recording Songs of the Latin Skies in 2011.
Noonan’s technical mastery and pure voice make her one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved vocalists. A mother, singer, producer, songwriter, pianist and businesswoman, the songstress first received widespread praise as the angelvoiced vocalist of indie-pop band George and has since taken audiences on sublime excursions through jazz, pop, and classical music. Her various releases include music from her folk/jazz trio of 14 years, the self-titled album Elixir in 2003, and her gold-selling top ten solo album Skin in 2007. In 2008, Noonan was a support act for Cyndi Lauper in Perth and was invited on stage by Lauper to sing along with Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
Noonan’s affinity with jazz shone through on the ARIA award-winning album, Before Time Could Change Us. Recorded with revered jazz pianist Paul Grabowsky in 2005, it captured the breathtaking beauty and emotion that characterises her work. Consisting of words written by the poet Dorothy Porter, the recording tracks the mysterious shifts and changes of a relationship. The album won an ARIA Award in the same year for Best Jazz Album.
On her 2008 ARIA winning release Blackbird, a jazz album of Lennon and McCartney cover versions, she collaborated with an ensemble of iconic jazz players including Joe Lovano, Ron Carter, Lewis Nash, and John Scofield.
On this year’s International Jazz Day on 30 April, Noonan announced the release of her twentieth studio album, The Sweetest Taboo, taking listeners back to where it all began in her youth with the iconic pop songs of the 1980s that first ignited her passion for music.
Friday 26 June at 12pm