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  • Writer's pictureSOUNDWEAVERS

S2. EP.8 Putting Yourself Out There vs. Having Patience: Aquarelle Guitar Quartet

December 15, 2021


Mike Baker and Rory Russell of the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet join the Soundweavers team to discuss their work promoting the guitar quartet through a careful balance of traditional repertoire, arrangements, and commissions. They chat about their relationship with Chandos Records and their recording projects. They speak about their beginnings with Live Music Now and the value that community engagement programs offer both the local audiences and the performers.


Recognized as one of the world’s leading guitar quartets, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative ensemble known for its extraordinary ensemble in performance and expansive repertoire. 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. Their early successes included winning awards from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Tillett Trust and Tunnell Trust.

In 2016, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet was invited to perform at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The concert, which also featured Maxim Vengerov, Debbie Wiseman, Laura Wright and Wayne Marshall, was recorded for subsequent broadcast. The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet has performed in many other major concert halls in the UK, including Perth Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Bridgewater Hall. Their engagements have taken them throughout Europe, most recently visiting Germany, Spain, Denmark, Greece, Estonia, Poland and Ireland. The ensemble made its debut in Asia in 2014 with a series of concerts in Seoul and they returned to South Korea in 2016, this time to perform at the Daejeon International Guitar Festival.

The AGQ is dedicated to presenting music from around the globe, spanning 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), Stephen Dodgson (U.K) and Nikita Koshkin (Russia) have invited the quartet to perform their compositions, and the group’s 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.

In 2009 the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet was signed exclusively to Chandos Records and has since recorded 5 albums; “Spirit of Brazil” (March 2009), “Dances” (June 2010), “Final Cut” (June 2012), “Cuatro” (Nov 2013) and “Aspects” (Nov 2016) all received highly enthusiastic reviews in the press.


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2.8 Aquarelle Guitar Quartet Transcript
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