Noëlle-Anne Darbellay was born in 1980 in Bern and grew up in a family of musicians. After studying at the University of the Arts in Utrecht (the Netherlands) with Karen Turpie, she graduated with a master’s degree in performance from the Geneva University of music under the guidance of Stefan Muhmenthaler, whom she now assists in the field of contemporary violin music. She received valuable insights from teachers including David Takeno, Felix Andrievsky, Bruno Canino and Siegfried Palm, as well as from Julia Schröder for the baroque violin. As a soloist she has played amongst others at the Lucerne Festival, the rainy days Festival from the Philharmonia Luxembourg, the Musiksommer Ernen, New Music Festival Kraków, Rencontres Musicales de Champéry, at the ISCM World New Music Days, Music Documents Tokyo and the Festival International de Musique Tibor Varga in Sion.
Her activity as a chamber musician – particularly with her brother, the horn player Olivier Darbellay – has taken her on numerous concert tours in Europe and Asia.
She is a member of the Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain, concertmaster of the Ludus Ensemble Bern and plays as a guest with the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Freitagsakademie for ancient music, amongst others.
Noëlle-Anne Darbellay is particularly interested in contemporary music and music theatre and has premiered numerous compositions (including works by Jürg Wyttenbach) for singing and reciting violinist with live productions broadcast on Deutschlandfunk, Espace2, Denmark Radio and SRF2 Kultur. She has been invited to perform a.o. at the Albertina Vienna, Brunel University London, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Great Gutter Festival Zürich, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Dampfzentrale Bern and the Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel. Recordings at Grammont with pieces by Jean-Luc Darbellay and at Christopherus with the Ensemble Leones for ancient music.
Together with the artist Francisco Sierra and the horn player Samuel Stoll she forms the collective Jetpack Bellerive. Through thematic projects they sound out the boundaries between new music, fine art and performance.
In 2011 she received the recognition award from the music committee of the Canton of Bern.
[…] This absurd theatre is worth seeing and hearing: the soprano [Noëlle-Anne Darbellay] sings incomprehensible texts in virtuoso operatic coloratura, the orchestra, meanwhile, is mimicked and sung by the choir, a speaker declaims Mani Matter’s (high German!) text, a pantomime too, and a cellist and the actor try to steal the show from the soprano in ever more absurd, contorted manoeuvres to boot. It is entertaining music theatre, a smorgasbord of linguistic wit and musical clowning.
[…] Jürg Wyttenach could depend upon the soloists, such as the violinist Noëlle-Anne Darbellay who sang and played the “Trois chansons violées“ with great accomplishment.
From the review by Reinmar Wagner of the premiere of Jürg Wyttenbach’s anti-opera “Der Unfall” at the Lucerne Festival 2015 in ‘Musik und Theater’ November/December 2015 issue. Der Unfall: text by Mani Matter; director Désirée Meiser; with Silvester von Hösslin, Daniele Pintaudi, Matthias Schranz and the Basler Madrigalisten led by Raphael Immoos.
[...] The Swiss violinist Noëlle-Anne Darbellay, who had given a fearless interpretation of Wyttenbach’s Trois chansons violées für eine singende Geigerin – lamenting a drunken rape with everything from wails above harsh pizzicato to the vibration of a needle beneath the strings of her instrument – then posed as an opera singer, uttering gibberish in vain self-glorification.
Classical Voice North America, Rebecca Schmid, 31.08.2015
Noëlle-Anne Darbellay est une flamboyante violoniste – elle a toutes les grâces, non seulement magnifique au violon, mais aussi vraie chanteuse. La Nouvelle République, 16.6.2014
[…] one experienced the fascinating singing violinist Noëlle-Anne Darbellay. She revealed her most delightful Bernese German and drew the most beautiful, choice sounds from her violin. New music only celebrates ugliness? – this is definitely not the case here. Basler Zeitung, 18.3.2010
The outstanding technical capabilities of the young violinist become apparent, and not only thanks to the classic virtuoso’s artifices. She also possesses a speaking voice that is ready for the stage […] a musical delight at the highest level. Lippisches Kultur-Journal, Detmold, 26.9.2012
When composing, Wyttenbach is always a master of language too, and so indeed (in ‘Trois Chansons Violées’‘) his ‘singing violinist’ sings as well, though mostly speaks, whoops, coos, shrieks, laughs, bawls and stutters – and fiddles. Even with a hairpin stuck between the E and A strings, on which a frenzied tremolo was played, which the excellent Noëlle-Anne Darbellay, as high-spirited comedienne, mastered gloriously.
Basler Landschaftliche Zeitung, 18.3.2010
At performances Noëlle-Anne Darbellay fascinates her public when she speaks, sings and plays concurrently in a virtuoso manner, and she convinces with the credibility of her interpretations: for her it is never about pure self-expression, but much more the accurate embodiment of the ‘character’ that she represents in different performances. Again and again in surprising ways she thus transcends the limits of sight and hearing.
Cécile Olshausen, Music Journalist
Noëlle-Anne Darbellay is increasingly establishing her profile as a specialist in avant garde violin music, particularly in combination with performance elements. They appear several times on this CD, for instance in ‘B-A-C-H’ for solo violin. ‘Sadia’ and ‘Incident Room’ are noteworthy, combining violin with voice (texts from Béatrice Libert and Ken Edwards). It is impressive how multifaceted dialogues can thus be created by one person – not to mention a considerable technical challenge. Musik und Theater, 6.6.2012, Stephan Thomas