Tel: (UK) 01322 221333 ~ Email

What Instruments are in a string quartet?
Two violins, a viola and a ‘cello.

Can I get a CD?
Yes. Send us an email including your name and address, and we’ll send you one. All the tracks on our CD can be downloaded from this site.

How long do you play for?
Our standard booking is for 3 hours. In this time, we would expect a break of between 15 and 20 minutes, but we are happy to be as flexible as possible around your own timings. Our repertoire is such that we can play for 7 hours if required. In such a long time period, we would expect a small break every 90 minutes or so. Again, we are happy to discuss exact timings with you.
If you book a larger ensemble, we can easily arrange for breaks to be “staggered”, ensuring continuous music through your function.

How much space do you need?
Ideally, a space measuring approx 4m x 3m is needed, but we can squeeze slightly. Please remember that as well as four players, there needs to be room for music stands, instruments and bows. The quartet always sets up in a semi-circle, so please don’t place chairs close together in a straight line and assume that we will be able to fit in!

Where is the best position in the room for you?
As we are an acoustic quartet, our sound radiates. The best position is therefore as close to the centre of the room as possible. Quite often there is a dance floor, which we can occupy during a meal.
For parties of over 100 people, it is also best to have a raised platform to enable our music to carry.
When discussing positioning with your venue, please remember that our bow arms move – often very quickly – during the performance, so please aim to leave enough space for staff and guests to walk past us.

What do I need to provide?
We will require four chairs without arms and, if possible, a secure room to leave personal belongings and instrument cases, so that we don’t have a pile of bags behind us.

Are you happy to play outside?
We often play outside, but please check a few points first:
The varnish on string instruments is very fragile and cannot be placed in sunlight or hot temperatures. On hot and sunny days, we need to be in a large shady area. Remember that the sun moves – and so does the shade – so where a building might provide enough protection at 2pm, it possibly won’t at 3pm!
If there is any wind, pages of music tend to fly from the stands. We do carry clips and fairly sturdy stands, but it may be necessary to position us just inside a building – often by patio doors or large windows, so that the music can flow into the grounds as well as being enjoyed by those guests who choose to be inside, keeping out of the wind!
In the event of rain, it is unlikely that you or your guests would want to be outside anyway. Again, we will be as flexible as possible, whilst still protecting our instruments.

Do you require refreshments?
It is rare that we are not offered glasses of mineral water or orange juice, especially on hot days. Many clients and venues are able to provide sandwiches during our break, and this is most welcome, although not at all obligatory. We do appreciate knowing in advance whether food is to be provided, as alternative arrangements often need to be made, especially when long journeys have been undertaken.

How loud will the music be?
We do not use amplification, so our music is unlikely to be too loud for you to carry on a conversation comfortably, unless you are extremely close to us. It is always possible for us to play softer!

Do you need additional lighting?
We always carry music stand lights with us, and appreciate being positioned near a standard electric socket. We always need to use extra lighting during candlelight dinners, and regularly find that venues manage to put us in their darkest corners!

How long do you need to set up your equipment?
We usually aim to arrive 45 minutes to 1 hour before we are required to play. This gives us time to find the chairs, liaise with the banqueting staff, set up our music stands and music and get changed.

Can you move locations during the event?
We are very happy to move, but do ask that chairs be available in all locations. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes for us to move the remainder of our equipment. For weddings and formal dinners, we ask the staff at the venue to keep us advised of timings for dinner, and usually aim to move a few minutes before the guests are called through.

Can I choose what music you play?
We have an extensive and ever growing repertoire list (click here to download), you are welcome to pick your favourites from it – but please let us know your choices a few weeks in advance. Most of our work is covered by our standard selection, and we are happy for you to leave the exact choice up to us.

Do you play requests?
The music played is limited to the sheet music we have with us. If you ask for a specific piece, we will play it if at all possible. If we are given sufficient notice, it may be possible to acquire an arrangement for string quartet. Contact us to discuss any ideas further.

Do you play any dance music?
We have a small number of waltzes and tangos, but do not profess to be a dance band.

What do you wear?
Our most formal look is Evening Tails. We also have Dinner Jackets (black and white). Ladies can either wear black or coloured dresses. Female ‘cellists often wear trousers for practical reasons, but will wear dresses if requested. Our standard choice is black – this blends into the background, and is unlikely to clash with you colour scheme.
For the less formal look, we can wear Lounge Suits, Black Shirts or even Jeans and

What happens if our event is running late?
The quartet will be as flexible as possible, but with players having their own childcare issues, we cannot guarantee to be able to stay after the finish time stated on the contract. If we are able to stay, an overtime fee is payable.
Many clients find it easier to book for 30 or 60 minutes longer than they think their event will take to avoid any awkwardness on the day.

What happens if one of the musicians becomes unavailable?
In the unfortunate event that one of the musicians is unavailable, we will do everything possible to engage the services of a replacement player. There are a number of professional players who have covered in the past for both holidays and illness, and we have not yet failed to provide a full quartet for a function.

Can I hear you “live”?
As most of our events are private functions, we cannot invite prospective clients to come along. We do play regularly at Wedding Fairs, and you are welcome to attend these. Please contact us for details.

How do I book?
Let us know exact details of your event – either by email fax or ‘phone, and we will send you a contract. Sign this and send one copy back to us, keeping the other for your reference.

When and how do I pay?
We ask for a booking fee with the contract, and the balance two weeks before the event. This enables your cheque to be cleared in our account, and for players to be paid on the day.
We are unable to accept credit or debit cards at this time, but cash and cheques are welcome.

Copyright © 2011 The Burlington Quartet