Nora Fischer is challenging the way we listen to the voice. With her special interest in creative interpretations of classical works, Amsterdam-based singer Fischer is renowned for her adventurous performance practice and innovative approach to live performance.
Using her voice as a versatile instrument, Fischer’s repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to the many compositions that have been written for her in the present day. Fischer is passionate about new music and has worked closely with many of today’s leading contemporary composers, including Louis Andriessen, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich, David Lang, Michel van der Aa and Nico Muhly. During the 2017/18 season, Fischer performs in major concert halls across Europe for the ECHO Rising Stars Tour, nominated by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Brussels Bozar. In September 2017 Fischer signed with Universal Music, with her first album to be released on Deutsche Grammophon in 2018.
Fischer’s unique approach has taken her around the globe to perform in a wide-range of projects and venues, from the Philharmonie de Paris and Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Lowlands Pop Festival or a mysterious forest at the Oerol Theatre Festival. She regularly takes part in contemporary operas; she worked with Dutch National Opera and Pierre Audi for the world premiere of Andriessen’s Theatre of the World, and gave the New York premiere of JacobTV’s ever-developing reality opera The News. Other recent collaborations also include performances with ensembles such as the L.A. Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble and l’Arpeggiata.
Fischer regularly performs solo recitals and devises projects involving baroque, classical and contemporary vocal repertoire, ranging from traditional concert programmes to genre-defying collaborations, such as her HUSH project with pop guitarist Marnix Dorrestein. She also frequently partners with a number of theatre companies in order to explore the intersection between new music and theatre.
Born into a family with a rich musical tradition, Fischer trained at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen, and holds a Masters in New Audiences and Innovative Practice from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague.
Together with composer Morris Kliphuis (Kapok Jazz Trio, Kytopia), text writer Lucky Fonz III, the Ragazze String Quartet and drummer Remco Menting (Kapok), Fischer has created a new genre-defying project. The Secret Diary of Nora Plain – darting between the borders of pop, jazz and classical – tells the story of the young Nora Plain, trying to live as an individual in the increasingly monitored society of today. Through her diary entrances, we hear her struggles with the watching eyes all around her that try to penetrate her personal space more and more.
The Secret Diary of Nora Plain is an intimate, personal and unsettling song cycle about the relationship between society, privacy, and paranoia. Created by writers and performers from classical, jazz, pop & folk backgrounds, crossing all musical boundaries.
Working alongside celebrated guitarist Marnix Dorrestein (a.k.a. IX), one of Fischer’s long awaited dreams finally became reality: the redefinition of early music songs. This period has provided songs with an incredible beauty that are extremely close to the pop music of today, only with a performance practice that is usually far away from the ears of this generation. With this project, Nora places these songs in our time. Stripped of mannerisms, sung in a lower key and performed in the purest version: simple, timeless and intensely beautiful. Sometimes groovy and soulful, sometimes silent and soul piercing. Approached with the creativity of songwriters in the 21st century.
Fischer has set up a special performance of the adventurous composition Ayre by Osvaldo Golijov, together with the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble. This cycle of songs is a breath-taking ode to various styles of folk music ranging from Sephardic tunes to Eastern European music and Christian Arab traditions, and demanding many different styles of singing and music making from the singer.
Fischer has been invited to perform Ayre with various ensembles and in various concert halls and festivals –such as the opening festival of TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, November Music Festival, Into the Great Wide Open, Felicja Blumental International Music Festival Tel Aviv, BMC in Budapest– and remains available for bookings.
"Focused, fluid and haunting..."Guardian
"In these excellent performances Nora Fischer is a revelation, both versatile and virtuosic, meshing beautifully with the instrumentalists"BBC Music Magazine
"It's hard to find words that do justice to Fischer's vocal qualities"NRC Handelsblad
"What a voice, what flexibility, what technique and what versatility. What devotion and what temperament! With her voice, Nora wraps you in silk and satin…perfect feel for timing and musical humor. It's almost not fair to have so much talent."Luister Music Magazine
“Nora Fischer’s power lies in nuance, intonation and expression. As versatile as she is, the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries fits her perfectly. In Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, she conjures a sense of drama, alternating between sensuality and modesty.”Concertgebouw recital, Volkskrant, February 2018
"Nora Plain cycle is the highlight of November Music [Festival]…bares all genres, and gave us the absolute WOW moment of the final weekend. Everything was spot on…nowhere was the story inaccessible, and it travelled through grainy post-rock, romantic chamber music, cinematic sound art, a tender love song, dark trip-hop and Led Zeppelin-esque vocal outcries. Nora Fischer - everything but 'plain' - proved an enchanting stage personality (especially her voice – natural and with great control), and shaped a fascinating psyche."The Secret Diary of Nora Plain, NRC Handelsblad, November 2017
"Fischer is perfectly at home in repertoire that is harder to label… large emotional range. She moves between extremes of vulnerability in 'As A Child' and maniacal outcries in 'Rat In My Room'…Innocence and paranoia go hand in hand in songs that made a big impression, [and] remain as effective on CD"The Secret Diary of Nora Plain, Gonzo Magazine, January 2018
"[Ayre] offers space for the creativity of a strong singer’s personality... Nora Fischer made this large space completely her own. Fischer appeared as a diva on stage and could identify perfectly with the style of the work that has originally been written for a more “traditional” singer, that feels also at home in the world of traditional opera. This was possible because of Nora Fischer’s virtues, like her high levelled musical professionalism, her immaculate control of the material, both musically and technically, the generous building of melodies, the cleanness of intonation without weaknesses, the phrasing, the assured timing using rhythmical freedom, and finally an exceptional characterising ability coupled with a high standard of physical movements."Muzsika Magazine
“Nora Fischer is representative of a new approach…crossing thresholds, and a repertoire choice without borders. Her non-conformism is successful. The audience absolutely love her, and also composers, who love to write for her (from Andriessen to Ter Veldhuis). Fischer sang fantastically…subtlety in colour, sound and expression.”Concertgebouw recital, Parool, February 2018
"Fischer sings beautifully, the string quartet plays captivatingly whilst also powerfully. It’s beautiful how, at certain moments, the strings search for a dialogue with Menting’s vibraphone. The music seems to float away from the score…the piece is full of small surprises and special discoveries"The Secret Diary of Nora Plain, Volkskrant, September 2017
"A sand dune formed a natural amphitheatre for the premiere of the song cycle The Secret Diary of Nora Plain. Singer Nora Fischer brought heavenly singing with subtle accompaniment by the Ragazze Quartet in the "classical equivalent of a concept album”The Secret Diary of Nora Plain, NRC Handelsblad, September 2017
"Fischer sings pop perfectly in tune and classical with a relaxed swing. Something to cherish."Volkskrant, November 2017
"In the centre of this gripping piece [Ayre], soloist Nora Fischer proved an artist who didn't just sing, but offered a first class performance on the boards of the Gare du Nord. She excelled vocally, and combined intense expression with various styles like classical, sephardic music, tango, and rock music"Schweizer Musikzeitung, February 2018