For many composers, paying attention to what’s going on “outside” was a very important part of their process – think about Beethoven’s nature-inspired Pastoral Symphony or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Well that idea of being “outside”, these days, is much more than just enjoying some fresh air – it’s a bit of slang that highlights a person’s general cultural relevance. Hey there – my name’s Loki Karuna, and today I’d like to introduce you to a composer who’s been outside for years – his name is Marcus Norris.

Marcus began his musical journey by creating rap beats, and over the years he expanded his skill set by learning to write instrumental music, as well. His focus on maintaining Black cultural relevance, or to be “outside” as a composer has landed him collaborations with some of the world’s biggest pop stars, including Beyonc√©! This work is a more classical spin on this idea of being outside – a tune that he called Outchea.

Away from the writing desk, Marcus has produced film scores, he’s created music that utilizes gospel aesthetics, and he’s even founded an orchestra that foregrounds Black cultural relevance. Marcus Norris is outside in every sense of the word, making him one of today’s most Noteworthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.

Pictured: Marcus Norris by Stay Gold Photos/