~Nois Saxophone Quartet member János Csontos

On November 4, 2018 ~Nois Saxophone Quartet will be our special guests for the premiere performance of our 63rd season!


Chicago’s own ~Nois is a professional saxophone quartet of rising stars! Founded in 2016 by graduate students at Northwestern University, ~Nois (pronounced "noise") has quickly emerged as one of the premier young ensembles dedicated to innovative and engaging performances. Known for their “masterclass-level demonstrations of precise articulations and glowing legatos” (I Care if You Listen), “truly innovative musicianship,” and “raw creativity” (Cacophony Magazine), ~Nois has been awarded prizes at prestigious chamber music competitions including the Second Prize in the Open Division of the 2018 M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition, the Silver Medal at the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Second Prize at the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, and First Prize at the 2016 Chicago Woodwind Ensemble Competition. ~Nois was invited to be an Ensemble Fellow to the 2018 Blackbird Creative Lab, where they worked closely with fellow Chicago-based ensemble, Eighth Blackbird.*

We asked the members of ~Nois to share with us their journeys in music, musical influences and inspirations, and words of advice that they have for young musicians.


János Csontos has been described as "a musician of the highest order" by Stockton Symphony conductor Peter Jaffe. A founding member of ~Nois, and the group’s Director of Finance, János made his solo debut at the age of 20 as the Grand Prize winner of the Auburn Symphony Young Artist Competition, performing twice as a concerto soloist with the Auburn Symphony.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in lifeI started playing the saxophone in the 5th grade. In the 8th grade my band teacher purchased a new baritone sax for the school and I immediately fell in love with it! I played only baritone sax for 5 years straight after that and because of that, it has always been my favorite saxophone to play. I'm just happy that now I get to play it as a part of a professional group with 3 other incredibly talented musicians!

What’s on your iPod?  I cannot listen to music without focusing on it intently - so most of the music I listen to is from other new music groups whose vision and music inspire me and the other members of ~Nois. Examples include groups like Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, JACK Quartet, and any new works from young composers that I know.

What does music mean to you?  Music, like all art forms, is a way of bringing people together to share a special experience! In these divided times, I find that this bringing together is more important than ever; it proves that people are far more similar than they are different. It's one of the few universal things that everyone can appreciate in some form. Music is about promoting friendship and establishing meaningful connections between other musicians, audience members, and composers.

What inspires you?  All of the musicians I play with and hear every day inspire me. As a musician, I find it necessary to constantly be seeking out sources of inspiration to keep myself motivated and excited about what I'm doing. This inspiration can come to me through hearing performances, workshopping music with composers, or meeting with established musicians to ask how they got to where they are today.

What do you do to relax?  Strangely enough, pretty much anything that doesn't involve music! As much as I love my career, I find it necessary to take a break from it when I have time off. This allows me to explore a lot of other areas of interest and keeps me looking forward to the next musical project without letting myself get burnt out.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?   1. Hard work beats talent. 2. Being a good person comes first, being a good musician comes second. 3. I spent the first ten years of my musical life convincing myself "I'll never be as good as this person or that person", and it made me lose focus on why I was pursuing a career in music in the first place. I finally realized it doesn't matter who is better than me or vice versa as long as I can make a living doing what I love, which comes down to how hard you are willing to work.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  We are simply thrilled to get the chance to play with NCB! I greatly admire all of the work the organization puts in to provide high quality concerts to the public, and to provide a creative outlet for the musicians in our community.


Learn more about János Csontos and ~Nois here.

*reprinted from noissaxophone.com