Formed in 2001, The Ardeton String Quartet comprises musicians trained at the Royal College of Music, The Royal Welsh College of Music and the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music. The ASQ received two years of intensive coaching at the RWCMD from some of the country's most highly regarded chamber musicians including the Gould Piano Trio, the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio, violist Lars Andes Tomter, and was offered a bursary to study with the Chillingirian Quartet at the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Academy. During this time they performed recitals at prestigious events and venues including the National Gallery of Wales, Aldeburgh in Suffolk, and the Weston Gallery.
During this time they were invited to perform at a number of civic functions and events, which saw them branching out into jazz and pop repertoire - it was from this that they saw a niche in the market. In 2001 they created a website marketing themselves as musicians for weddings and functions. Whilst creating an ever-expanding list of interpretations of jazz standards and pop hits, they recorded demo tracks and videos. They were one of the first quartets in the country to market themselves for events solely online and still to this day have one of the largest and most varied repertoires of any string quartet.
Originally based in Cardiff, the quartet moved base to Bristol in 2006 where it quickly gained an enviable reputation for lively and varied performances, performing at around 70 weddings and events each year. Highlights include performing for Royalty at a veterans event in Cardiff, and appearing in a ballet-inspired set for SkyArts at the Hay-on-Wye festival. Amongst the most often remembered engagements for the players has to be a product launch for Marks & Spencers which saw them performing a 20-minute version of 'That's Amore' in alternate 30-minutes sets in a busy shopping centre for 3 days running.
There are, of course, a number of other quartets now performing pop and rock arrangements - many sell their versions online. However, many clients say our versions are truer to the originals, and have more energy. This is largely down to the close working relationship of our players and the ear of our musical arrangers. Unlike other quartets, we like to keep the essence of the drum beat in the cello line - this way you get something more akin to the original rather than a 'Mozart does Beyonce' reflection of the original track.
This has been noticed by many bands and performers who now come to the Ardeton String Quartet for strings on their albums. The quartet have recorded session films with Edwin Miles and Jess McAllister, and recently performed at a major UK festival with local band The HiLife Companion.
On the concert platform, the quartet continue to play professional performances of major works, with recent engagements including quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Dvorak, and they enjoy collaborations with other musicians which have led to them performing as a clarinet quintet, piano quintet, piano quartet and oboe quartet in recent years.
Why do we still do it? Because we enjoy it. And you can be assured that your guests at your function or wedding are getting the same polished sound that audiences will pay £20 to listen to in a concert venue.