Four times the Nois


photo courtesy of Nois

Nois members lay down together to promote their show.

Brenda Echeverria, Staff Reporter

Nois, pronounced “noise,” is not your typical saxophone quartet. The Chicago-based group blends contemporary classical music with a mix of experimental improvisation, which left many students in Light Recital Hall surprised.

“I was not ready for that,” said freshman Ryley Dlugi.

The quartet performed six pieces that showcased everything from their precise articulation to their eccentric use of visuals, improv and even a megaphone.

During their performance, the ensemble used a megaphone to amplify the sound from one of the saxophones. They also used it as a prop by turning its siren sound on. Nois was definitely bringing the noise and students loved it.

Music education major Haley Dieter called it breathtaking and said she would see them again in a heartbeat. Other students found the ensemble to be inspiring.

“I play the saxophone and that was unreal,” said freshman Kacy Furu. “I hope to be able to do that stuff one day.”

Nois was founded in 2016 by Hunter Bockes, János Csontos, Jordan Lulloff and Brandon Quarles. The group met as graduate students at Northwestern University, where they first formed as a student quartet. They eventually transitioned from doing student competitions to forming Nois and touring the U.S.

Most of the pieces they perform have been composed by friends, and so far, they have premiered over 30 pieces.

“One of the main missions of the group is to play music by living composers today, people that accurately represent the population as a whole. And we achieve this by commissioning our friends to write pieces for us,” said Lulloff.

Lulloff said that, on average, the feedback they receive from the audience tends to be more positive from the younger generation than the older generation. He attributed this to the open mindedness of younger people, but said it’s not the point. Nois just wants to showcase what the saxophone can do and push its boundaries.

“If you love it, that’s great. You know, come along for the ride. And if you don’t, that’s okay too,” Bockes said.

Both Lulloff and Bockes said that music has always been a part of their lives. Both of Bockes’ parents were vocalists and Lulloff’s family is full of professional saxophonists. Their passion for music was especially obvious when they improvised.

During their last piece Thirteen Changes, the ensemble played and moved around to different parts of the auditorium. The piece followed 13 lines of poetry that evoked different feelings and painted different scenarios like “a single egg motionless in the desert” and “a solitary worm in an empty coffin.” The ensemble improvised with music what the lines of poetry might feel like.

Student Dluigi said he wasn’t expecting the ensemble to move around the room and to be as experimental as they were.

“It definitely expanded my mind on what music and improv can be.”

Their performance at UW-Whitewater was their first of seven trips to Wisconsin this year. A full tour list can be found at