FRIENDS ON TWO CONTINENTS

In the studio at Surrey University with composer, Will Todd

In the studio at Surrey University with composer, Will Todd

The primary aim of the Santiago Quartet is to perform and promote contemporary Latin American Music. We have built a significant repertoire of Tangos, Milongas and other pieces, many by Astor Piazzolla, some more traditional, arranged for string quartet and bandoneon, a sound-world unique to the Santiago Quartet. We also perform music by composers including Javier Alvarez, contemporary, living artists who are personal friends.

Our connection with this music began with our cellist, Jonny, who lived and worked in Mexico for six years; his symphony-orchestra role vividly contrasted outside the concert hall by the songs and rhythms of South America. 

On his return from Mexico, Jonny struggled to acclimatise. It was then that he formed a friendship with composer Will Todd, when their daughters became best friends at nursery school. The Birthday Quartet, was commissioned by Jonny's mother, Margaret, for Jonny's father's 70th birthday. The movements, Heartbeat, Lovesong and In God My Hope, are deeply personal - The final movement features a favourite hymn tune in line with Will's acclaim as a choral composer, and the first is full of edgy jazz rhythms.  

The Quartet has performed the work many times and is excited to be including it as part of the upcoming album, Language of the Heart, produced in the studio at Surrey University by the composer.

I have loved working with the Santiago Quartet in the past 2 years when they have been working on my Birthday Quartet, presenting it in concerts and also preparing it for recording release. Their musicality shines through their playing, and their attention to detail is wonderful. From a composer’s perspective, their enthusiasm for performance and appetite for expression is a real winner.
— Will Todd

Thank you for a lovely workshop. The playing was exquisite and it was so inspiring for the boys to hear such fine chamber music playing.
— Lanesborough School

An excerpt from Astor Piazzolla's Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas from a live performance in Surrey UK, February 2017.