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The Bridge Quartet is firmly established as one of Britain's leading string quartets. Their acclaimed recordings for Meridian, particularly of the complete quartets by their namesake, the British composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941), have led to invitations to tour internationally, including the USA, Switzerland and this season in Italy, Spain and France. In 2006 they were the only quartet invited to represent Britain at the Fayence International Quartet Festival. They often perform in Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Tuscany (Italy). The quartet are represented in Eastern Europe by Illyria.
In London, highlights include Haydn 'Seven Last Words' and late Beethoven at the South Bank Centre as well as a recital to a capacity audience at Wigmore Hall: Ravel and Brahms quartets and the first London performance of the Bridge Viola Quintet. The Quartet has performed in many festivals and series throughout the UK such as the Warwick International Quartet Series and Cambridge Summer Recitals as well as for numerous music clubs. They collaborate with some of the UK's outstanding performers in Brahms Sextet, Schubert cello quintet, Mozart viola quintets as well as clarinet and piano quintets.
The members of the Bridge Quartet are highly respected as coaches on international courses such as the Dartington International Summer School as well as various courses for amateurs throughout Europe. Their pioneering educational work has won several awards and was featured on BBC Television. They are Musicians-in-Residence in the London Borough of Hounslow where they give community performances and showcase their "West 4 Sunday Series" in the Edwardian surroundings and excellent acoustics of Chiswick Town Hall, London W4.
Their discovery of an early quartet by Delius led to premiere performances at the Delius Festival in the USA and a recording, coupled with quartets by Grieg and Grainger. This received the highest rating by Diapason "une revelation totale" and was the Chamber Music Disc of the Month in The Strad: "An outstanding release ... enchanting performances." Their most recent CD, of chamber music by Bridge as a student, was reviewed in Gramophone 2005: "Pleasing discoveries ... the Bridge Quartet prove persuasive advocates ... intensely warmhearted ... a very attractive release," and by The Strad in 2005: "A landmark recording with gripping ensemble ... highly recommendable."
The Bridge Quartet feature on a highly acclaimed Naxos recording of William Alwyn chamber music which sold over 3000 copies in the first six months. They were delighted to play at the visionary English Music Festival in Oxfordshire and are linking future recordings of English works to the next Festival.
The Bridge Quartet continue to give concerts, workshops and masterclasses both in Britain and abroad. This season, they returned to Musica Eterna in Dubrovnik and will play in the 2008 International Quartet Festival in Loro Ciuffena, in Tuscany (Italy).
The Bridge String Quartet is committed to working in the local community. As Musicians in Residence for the London Borough of Hounslow, they are crossing boundaries with their community performances throughout the Borough and, in particular, for their West 4 Sunday Series at Chiswick Town Hall.
Some of the projects include:
Our project in Osterley Park, 29 June 2008, provided a fabulous venue for the local community to enjoy a day of live music, dance performances, art activities and stalls from voluntary groups in a historic setting. The Hounslow Schools Wind Band and Monisha Bharadwaj's Bollywood Dance were among many performers who entertained families. The afternoon ended with a haunting performance by West Thames dance students accompanied by Hounslow's Musicians in Residence, the Bridge Quartet, on the steps of Osterley House. This was the culmination of a year long collaboration between the National Trust, the Bridge Quartet and the music, dance and media departments of West Thames College. There was also an exhibition of art created by Worple School and later on in the week teachers and year 6 children from Ivybridge School treated their families and school governors to a Victorian tea party and tour of the grounds.
The appointment as Musicians in Residence was celebrated in Hounslow's HM Magazine in September 2006. "Some people think that classical music is elitist," said Lucy Wilding (cellist). "It simply isn't. We want to undertake projects in the local community to help bring music to a wider, more inclusive, audience."
Visions of Brentford Festival concerts
On 29 June 2007, the Quartet performed two concerts in St Paul's Church, Brentford.
The whole project was sponsored by ISIS and the concerts were the culmination of the work the Quartet had been doing in local schools to help students gain a better appreciation of classical music through listening, participation and expressing their reactions through painting and drawing.
The second concert was part of the Elderly People's Festival and was enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience of local people.
Shared Platforms is an initiative that brings together music from different communities. The Quartet performs with musicians from other backgrounds and cultures such as the Raj Academy (more details here).
Age Concern and Asian Women's Group concerts
On 20 March 2007, the Quartet played two concerts in West London. They played some Schubert, Elgar and Bridge and the audiences greatly enjoyed the music.
The first was a lunch-time concert for Age Concern in Brentford. There was an excellent turn out and for many of the audience it was their first experience of listening to a string quartet live. As well as introducing the music, the similarity between the three different instruments and the different "voices" in a choir was explained.
The second concert of the day was in Feltham where the Quartet played to the Asian Women's Group. Again, the audience had not experienced much "western" music and it was their first experience of listening to a string quartet live. The concert was very well received and we hope to organise more events, including some with a mixture of "eastern" and "western" music with the Quartet sharing the stage with specialist musicians from the Asian area.
West Middlesex Hospital concert
On 20 September 2006, the Quartet played a lunch time concert at the West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, West London.
Many of the patients at the hospital and visitors enjoyed listening to Mozart and Dvorak. The concert was held in the main entrance atrium near to the cafe so that the maximum number of people possible could enjoy the music.
The Haverfield Strings project
The Haverfield Estate is in West London. The Quartet worked with young people from the estate to introduce them to classical music. None of the young people could play an instrument before joining the project and they volunteered to work with the Quartet to learn an instrument with the objective of playing with them in a concert.
The project was welcomed by all in the community. The group performed in varied venues across Hounslow, including Brentford Football Club, at Hounslow Civic Centre for Holocaust Day, at Watermans Arts Centre, Sunbury Golf Club and IBM in aid of Red Nose Day, which was shown on BBC TV.
The Bridge Quartet's web profile was last updated 5th Dec 2018
The Bridge Quartet are highly respected as coaches and teachers. The quartet regularly coach on international courses such as the Dartington International Summer School, as well as on European courses for amateurs. They also coach internationally, for example in the Marche region of Italy. The Quartet has done pioneering community educational work which then won several awards and was featured on BBC Television.
The Brentford Festival cross-generational project
The Quartet, sponsored by ISIS, went into four local schools to help students gain a better appreciation of classical music. "Classes" included sessions to learn about rhythm - including some participation using pencils and cups as instruments - listening to live and recorded music and doing paintings or drawings to show the feelings created by listening to the music. The culmination of the project was a concert at St Paul's Church (including more participation!) and the presentation of prizes for the art work.
The Haverfield Strings Project
This award-winning project received a grant from the National Foundation for Youth Music community This involved 12 children on the Haverfield Estate in West London, the home of Lucy Wilding. The children had string instruments playing sessions and then gave performances alongside the quartet. One of these raised money for the Red Nose Day which was then featured on BBC News.
As part of their touring in the USA they gave classes to University students at UMKC and Washburn. They have coached students from Trinity College of Music, London on chamber music by Bridge. The students groups then shared in a Bridge day hosted by the quartet in Brighton. You can find more details of Courses and Master Classes here.
Dartington International Summer School
The Quartet are regularly invited to be chamber music coaches and give concerts in this prestigious summer school.
Chamber music courses
Most recently the quartet has coached in Italy and France organised by Musical Passages. They have also conducted courses in Bolton, Alston Hall Lancashire, Roehampton Institute (London), France, Switzerland and, more recently, weekend courses in Cambridge for amateur groups. You can find more details of Courses and Master Classes here.
Hounslow Musicians in Residence
Performances in the community and listening / art work with local children. ISIS recently sponsored a very successful "Water Themed" project in conjunction with the Brentford Waterside Festival and primary school children in May 2006.
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