November 4th AQUARELLE GUITAR QUARTET is one of Britain’s leading chamber music groups. This dynamic and innovative ensemble will perform for us, with infectious spirit, some of its original arrangements of music from a wide range of styles, periods and cultures. Sponsored by THE LEGACY KINGSCLIFF HOTEL Holland-on-Sea. Tel: 08444119492
Published on 4 Dec 2012
In the second of our exclusive Sinfini Sessions at the Idler Academy, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet plays a traditional Latin-American ‘Tarantella’, based on a composition for the group Inti-Illimani Histórico and arranged for guitar quartet by Mike Baker.
Aquarelle Guitar Quartet
Michael Baker, Vasilis Bessas, James Jervis, Rory Russell
Recognised as one of Britain’s leading chamber music groups, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative ensemble known for its extraordinary ensemble in performance and expansive repertoire.
Described as the “next big thing making its arrival in the classical guitar world”, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet has performed extensively in major venues including the Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Bridgewater Hall. Their engagements have taken them throughout Europe, most recently visiting Germany, Spain, Denmark, Greece and Ireland. The quartet has performed as part of the Last Night of the Proms and has given live broadcasts on Radio 3, Classic FM, Lyric FM and ERA 3 (Greece). In 2007 they became the only guitar quartet to have ever performed in the finals of the Royal Overseas League and Young Concert Artists Trust (YCAT) Competitions. In 2011 they were “Artist in Residence” at the Harrogate International Festival.
The AGQ is dedicated to presenting music from around the globe and which spans the period from the renaissance right through to the present day. Many established international composers, including Carlos Rafael Rivera (U.S.A), Phillip Houghton (Australia) and Stephen Dodgson (U.K), have invited the quartet to perform their compositions, and the group’s recent commission “Danças Nativas”, by the Brazilian composer Clarice Assad, was nominated for a Latin Grammy® award for best classical composition in 2009. A further source of material for the AGQ’s constantly expanding repertoire is their own arrangements of music from various genres, including works by Gismonti, Mussorgsky, Rossini, and film music composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. The group is also committed to continuing their involvement in outreach and educational projects, and is regularly invited to give master classes. In addition to their recital and educational work, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet frequently appears with orchestras, and is responsible for the re-emergence of two great concertos, Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz and Torroba’s Concierto Iberico for four guitars.
Formed originally at the Royal Northern College of Music (in 1999), under the guidance of Craig Ogden and Gordon Crosskey, the quartet went on to study with renowned guitarists such as Sérgio Assad, Oscar Ghiglia and Scott Tennant. The quartet’s ground breaking work in developing the guitar quartet medium subsequently earned them awards from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Tillett Trust and Tunnell Trust.
The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, recognising the responsibility artists have to impart some of their knowledge and experience to future generations, embraces every opportunity to be involved in education work. They all enjoy teaching posts in the Northwest of England and the quartet regularly gives masterclasses to guitarists and chamber musicians, ranging from enthusiastic youngsters to aspiring professionals, including students at the RNCM and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their former association with Yehudi Menuhin’s scheme ‘Live Music Now’ has also equipped them with experience and expertise in providing educational recitals to a wide range of audiences.
In 2009 the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet was signed exclusively to Chandos Records and has since recorded 3 albums, “Dances” (released in June 2010), “Spirit of Brazil” (March 2009) and “Final Cut” (June 2012). Both “Dances” and “Spirit of Brazil” received critical acclaim from the press. BBC Music Magazine awarded “Spirit of Brazil” five stars for both performance and recording, commenting:
“with outstanding playing and infectious spirit, this is no mere niche guitar CD, but a luscious and lively general-appeal winner”
The Aquarelle’s subsequent release “Dances” has received excellent reviews from both Gramophone and International Record Review, the latter concluding:
“After a first hearing, I felt as if I had musically travelled all over the world and was more than ready to get back on the plane for another round-trip”