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Hiring A String Quartet

Has anyone ever told you, ‘You get what you pay for’?

Well, this holds true especially for musicians. The players in this quartet have spent years perfecting their art. All have advanced degrees in music with specialties in their instrument. Since college, all have earned their living by playing these instruments, and teach it to others as well.

This adds up to hours and hours and hours, past and present, practicing various techniques and styles of music. All of them perform around the Richmond area for the joy of sharing beautiful music in settings other than this group.

The Belle Arte String Quartet is unlike inexpensive groups that probably have had very little practice time and far less experience performing. Do you want that for your once-in-a-lifetime event?

What is a string quartet?

A string quartet consists of a pair of violins, a viola and a cello, roughly corresponding to the soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections of a choir. It is the traditional combination of instruments for which Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and others wrote string quartet music, such as the well-known Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. When composers want more, they reinforce the sound by adding musicians to play along on each of the string parts, add a few double basses, some brass, winds, and/or percussion, and it becomes an orchestra.

What is behind the cost in hiring a quartet?

The costs will vary hugely. This is one area of your event where you do not want to cut back. As the saying goes, here is where ‘you get what you pay for’. You may think the musicians you have hired show up and only play for an hour or two, but as mentioned above, our group consists of trained and highly skilled professionals. The time you see them and hear them play is a result of not only the schooling, but also hours alone in a practice room going over and over a particular piece until they feel they have it just right and fit to perform in front of an audience. They are prepared to play the same whether it is an audience of 5 or 500.

If you find performers that are a lot cheaper than others, you may want to ask yourself why. And do you want to risk a very special event for that? Most likely, the musicians you are hiring are not the focus of your wedding, corporate gathering, party, reception, etc. They are there to enhance the ambiance and create an atmosphere of your choosing. You want people who have had years of practice and experience doing what they do best to help showcase you, a bride, a corporation, or the host. You don’t want to risk a wrong note or a glaring noise during a planned quiet reflective moment. We are there to complement your event your way. We are able to do that because we have had years of experience with various situations.

Who wants a string quartet, anyway?

Someone looking for that last touch of elegance to help mark a milestone in their private or corporate life will have a string quartet play at their special event, whether a wedding, marriage proposal, reception, anniversary, Baptism, corporate or other gathering. Music says what words cannot convey, and a string quartet provides an ambiance of sophistication that enhances any theme, without being so loud that it distracts from conversation. The group can play indoors or outside, (which is handy when there is no piano or pipe organ) and unlike a single instrument or singer, a quartet offers harmony and a blend of sounds with a range that far exceeds that of any human voice.The Belle Arte String Quartet has played for the ‘Fortune 500′, a Gubernatorial Inauguration party, a Centennial celebration for a local church, a funeral for a departed soul whose main love in life was playing chamber music, openings of new corporate facilities, many open house events, the Virginia Museum’s Faberge exhibit and, of course, numerous banquets and receptions for individuals, corporate parties, area organizations and clubs.

What else should you look before hiring a quartet?

You need to contact some of the people they list as references, and find out the answers to a few questions:

-Does the contact person for the group return calls and/or emails promptly? Did you have to call them back or send repeat messages to get an answer?

-Were they willing to accommodate your special requests? Were they inclined to listen to your needs and encourage you to share the mood you are trying to create?

-Did they feel they got what they expected in quality of performance from the group?

Then you need to make some determinations for yourself:

Do they have sound samples you can listen to? Does the group sound as good, the same as, or better than other groups?

-What can they play—mainly jazz, mainly classical, just some standard wedding music, or a variety of styles? How large is their repertoire list? Will they search for and accommodate unique pieces that are special to you? Is there a fee for this (usually there is, depending on how far and long the search takes and what format the music is in, usually it is printed for piano and has to be transposed for a stringed instruments)?

How do they handle the timings—do they attend the rehearsal, or are they experienced enough to be able to do it as needed from information you give them ahead of time (if indeed, the information is asked for, or do they just show up)?

What was a determining factor that led to selecting the Belle Arte String Quartet for one of our clients?
“Samples online with strong intonation and professional affiliations [with the Richmond Symphony].” -Cameron {May 2014}

Please take a look around! If you want more information or simply want to talk to someone, fill out the form on our contact page and we will get in touch with you. We also have many references from our years of playing that we will be happy to pass on to you!

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