25 January 2024

Feel the noise - the new frontier of classical music concerts

By Lark Music

Noisenights, started by two music fans who have a vision for the future of classical music through crowdfunded concerts, are attracting audiences to watch international soloists in clubs and bars across the UK – and the 2024 dates have just been released

Think about clearing a concert hall or pub of chairs for a night of classical music and you’ve got noisenights. These venues might not be the usual place to listen to Brahms or Beethoven, but crowdfunded events are the latest way of attracting audiences.

And why not go clubbing for classical music?  After all, every other genre of music tends to offer a place to stand up and dance! These ground-breaking events are the brainchild of Jack Bazalgette and Jack Crozier who found themselves missing live music during lockdown.

Jack Bazalgette said: “We had time at home to think a little bit philosophically in a way that you don’t usually do in normal life. We were both pretty plugged into the music world before the pandemic and we went to concerts in London two or three times a week. We loved going to see the orchestras and going to Wigmore Hall and so on.

“We were fanatics, so towards the very end of lockdown we decided we wanted to help spread the word about the concerts happening when music was starting up again.

“So in London at least, bit by bit, amazing concerts started popping up. Maybe the nature of the lockdown rules meant it was always a piano being played in a cafe – and it was often quite a famous pianist, too, because soloists were free and the big venues hadn’t really geared up again.

“It became a little like a grassroots classical music scene, so we made a basic website to shout about these concerts. We weren’t doing it for money, but just for fun and to spread the word to make sure these concerts kept happening. We were supporting musicians as we were plugged into that world. I had studied at the Royal College of Music and my girlfriend is a trumpeter.

“When the normal system started kicking in again, it got harder to get amazing musicians into small places because they needed to earn a living.

“We really liked what had been happening and other people did too. On top of that, it was notable that the audience was quite different at those places because you combine a really good quality music experience with a fun evening out.

“It’s an unusual evening that you probably wouldn’t forget in a hurry and if you took a friend you’d probably think well, even if you didn’t like classical music, it was probably quite a fun thing to do.

Noisenight31 Fatma Said at Lafayette London (credit Jack Bazalgette)

“After a while we started to do our own thing and chose the venues. It was almost like looking for a house because we took it unbelievably seriously. We still do. We went around hundreds of venues and tried to find the right place. 

“We found the right kind of place for us in Hoxton Square called the Hoxton Underbelly. It’s a bit like a little cabaret bar. It’s very cool, a bit like Ronnie Scott’s but in a grungier way with seats and tables and a bit of standing room.

“We did two great concerts there that I really enjoyed but we couldn’t make it work financially with people sitting down because the amount that people wanted to pay was not enough to cover musicians’ fees.

“Jack and I are big gig-goers so we thought, well, why not make these a bit more like gigs and it can be a standing thing – something that is so normal across the entire music industry. 

“So, most noisenights feature two short classical sets, one early evening, one late. Tickets to the late set tend to include live music for the rest of the night, including jazz, latin, afrobeat, swing and funk acts.

Big names

“It’s been surprisingly easy to get big names and really good musicians to perform because we offer something different. It says a lot, I hope, that musicians like our gigs.

“Our first concert was with an amazing duo: Max Bailey, a wonderful violinist, and cellist Laura van der Heiden, who’s a friend from uni. It was fantastic. They also improvised some things and that was a really great gig.

“It’s quite amazing how the atmosphere changes when everyone’s standing. People get quite gripped, something we often found at the proms where you can get cheap tickets in the arena. It’s sort of similar to that. 

“Another concert was with jazz pianist Harry Baker. He’s an amazing musician and he had collaborated with cellist Sheku Kenneh-Mason. He suggested that maybe we could do something with Sheku, and that they already had a project going, so that helped us with spreading the word because people do take notice of what Sheku does. That was January 2023, our fourth gig.

“We also started to realise it was quite helpful to film the concerts to highlight what the concerts are like. Sadly, the videos from Harry and Sheku’s evening got stolen from a bag on a bus, so there’s only a separate take of about 1 minute 45 seconds from that concert. That’s now a precious little clip that helped to show people the kind of experience you can have in these places.

“The Kenneh-Masons are lovely people and really clever and very thoughtful musicians. We had Braimah playing at the end of October – he is pure magic, and Jenneba played at Brighton in November – she is incredible.

“There’s nothing pioneering about noisenights per se, it’s more that we’re borrowing all the bits of other things that we like!

“I really do believe that if you took someone on a date, say, to our concert, then you’re going to have a good date.

“In Brighton, there was a bunch of lads who looked like they were going on a night out, and I would guess they were about 19. They all came in their big puffa jackets and all their hair had been done carefully and I honestly think they had a great time watching Jeneba play Prokofiev, Debussy and Liszt. I could see them from where I was standing.

“The interesting thing is that Jack and I still like going to Wigmore Hall – I just see this as a kind of additional option … there’s room for everything.”

Backing a noisenight means getting tickets to hear some of the world’s best performers up close while being part of a community working for a positive future for live music.
Visit throughthenoise.co.uk

2024 concert dates

Guitarist Plínio Fernandes + violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason


Tue 16 – Concorde 2, Brighton

Wed 17 – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

Thu 18 – Riverside, Newcastle

Fri 19 – La Belle Angele, Edinburgh

Sat 20 – Slay, Glasgow

Tue 23 – The Globe, Cardiff

Wed 24 – Jam Jar, Bristol

Thu 25 – Yellow Arch, Sheffield

Sun 28 – The Wardrobe, Leeds

Mon 29 – Band On The Wall, Manchester

Tue 30 – Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool

Wed 31 – Jazz Cafe, London


Fri 2 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Sat 3 – Faith in Strangers, Margate

Cellist Raphaela Gromes + pianist Julian Riem


Wed 14 – Future Yard, Birkenhead

Thu 15 – OSLO Hackney, London

Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason 


Tue 20 – Scala, London

Wed 21 – Band On The Wall, Manchester

Kora player and drummer Seckou Keita


Thu 29 – Lost Horizon, Bristol


Fri 1 – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

Percussionist Sidiki Dembele


Sat 2 – Riverside, Newcastle

Sun 3 – La Belle Angele, Edinburgh

Mon 4 – Slay, Glasgow

Wed 6 – Sidney & Matilda, Sheffield

Thu 7 – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds (unconfirmed)

Fri 8 – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

Sat 9 – Grounds, Rotterdam

Mon 11 – New Morning, Paris

Tue 12 – Mercerie, Brussels

Wed 13 – Bett, Frankfurt

Thu 14 – Toekomstmuziek, Amsterdam

Sat 16 – Band on the Wall, Manchester

Sun 17 – Lost Horizon, Bristol

Tue 19 – Jazz Cafe, London

Wed 20 – Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool

Thu 21 – The Globe, Cardiff

Meet the noisenights directors

Jack Bazalgette is a conductor, singer and animateur based in Hackney, London. He has worked as chorusmaster with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducts the Malcolm Street Orchestra and was Senior Conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra.

Jack has been Artistic Director for concert tours of the UK and Germany, is Associate Director of Tiffin Boys’ Choir and, in lockdown, developed music programmes for mental health and music education charities.

Jack Crozier began his professional career in the performing arts while undertaking a degree in music at the University of Nottingham, where he administered Nottingham Lakeside Arts’ new and classical music series, alongside work with Sinfonia Viva. Since graduating, he has branched out into the world of commercial theatre, managing and marketing an international production company’s performances at the West End and at fringe festivals around the world.