What are House Concerts?
The majority of chamber music written for string quartets and string duos was originally composed with the intention of it being performed in a domestic setting, rather than a concert hall - with ensembles giving concerts in private houses and gardens.
Over the last few years, this exciting trend of 'House Concerts' has once again begun to gain popularity, with music of all styles played in private residences, gardens or stately homes - to an invited audience.
Instead of journeying to a concert hall where the performers give their recital on a stage, audiences can gather in any large room and hire in their own classical ensemble for an intimate recital, with the musicians fee covered by a contribution from each concert goer.
Whether you would like to book a string quartet or duo to play during a dinner party, or host a private concert with an invited audience - we are always especially delighted to perform live music in informal or domestic settings.
So how does it work?
As most people don't have a concert hall attached to their houses, a medium to large sized front room is all that is needed, ideally to seat 30 + people on chairs, floor cushions or sofas. For this size of setting, a string duo may be the perfect way to start, taking up less room than a string quartet and keeping costs down with only two musicians instead of four. On warm evenings, concerts can even be held outdoors in larger back gardens, with the audience sitting on the grass or reclining in garden chairs (possibly with a glass of wine in hand...)
What do we need?
One of the advantages of playing on instruments that are acoustic, is simplicity. We don't require any amplification and the instruments are highly portable, we will also bring our own music stands and are responsible for the insurance and safekeeping of our own instruments. No piano accompaniment is required - just two to four armless chairs!
Who do I invite?
Advertise your concert to friends, neighbours, work colleagues and family - asking each audience member to contribute a certain amount of money (the cost of the musicians divided by the expected number of guests). Because house concerts are such a unique experience, where audience members have the chance to chat to the musicians and enjoy music in comfortable, relaxed surroundings, audience groups do often decide to make the concerts a regular event, putting on a series of evenings with different invited musicians, and taking turns to host the concerts.
Who likes going to house concerts?
House concerts appeal to a wide range of people who are interested in hearing live classical music but who perhaps don't enjoy the formal atmosphere of many concert halls. The generous atmosphere of shared music as well as the proximity of the musicians - make domestic concerts a special experience.
What will be played?
You may decide to allow the ensemble to recommend a programme of music, or you may wish to choose the works you'd like to hear performed from our recitals repertoire. Some concert hosts encourage audience members to bring and share wine or nibbles, and some go much further by organising a 'bring and share' type meal before or after the concert!
The majority of venues hosting house concerts are actually peoples' homes, and virtually all audience members will happily respect the same social etiquette as they would when visiting anybody's house. It might be a good idea to make arrangements for any household pets to be kept in a separate area during the performance.
House concerts are sociable events where audience members get to meet like minded neighbours, form friendships, enjoy classical music in a comfortable location and 'listening environment', talk to the musicians and even request their favourite pieces in advance. If you are interested in hosting a house concert for a special occasion, or are a regular music club who would like to book a string quartet or duo for a performance, please do get in touch.
Many clients who have previously hired us as a wedding string quartet have organised private concerts to mark a special wedding anniversary or occasion, enabling them to sit back with friends and enjoy the music without any distractions.
Hi Vaughan, I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thanks very much for your time on Friday, the music was brilliant and many of the guests commented on it. The hotel staff as well said it was the best they'd heard from the numerous weddings they'd had there, and the fact it was a contemporary twist with the strings was fantastic. Kate and Justin (Wedding at East Sussex National Golf Resort)