santiago Quartet represents the continuation of a mission which began in Merida, Mexico in 2005
Originally Cuarteto Genesis, the group took the name Santiago Quartet when two of its founding members moved to England after several years with the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra.
Whilst working in Mexico, the musicians discovered a repertoire that was rarely or never performed in the United Kingdom. They collaborated with the renowned Yucatecan guitarist Cecilia Perera, and their interest in exploring this music led to performances with the Grammy Award winning Cuarteto Latinoamericáno, and at the 2008 International Chamber Music Festival in Mexico City's Bellas Artes Theatre.
Santiago Quartet's first album, Latin Perspective, a collaboration with Cuban guitarist Ahmed Dickinson, received outstanding reviews in Gramophone and Songline Magazine. Performances included Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s as part of Classical Kicks, Guildford International Music Festival, Guildford Spring Music Festival, St. Martin in the Fields, Bolivar Hall, and with the singer-songwriter Ana Silvera at the Purcell Room and live on Radio 3.
After personnel changes which led to a new beginning for the group, the Santiago Quartet, along with founding member, cellist Jonathan Hennessey-Brown, reaffirmed their intention both to bring vibrant performances to audiences and play an active role in the education of young musicians. Amongst other engagements, the Quartet has received exceptional feedback for its annual workshops with young composition students at the Jewish Free School in West London.
The Quartet continues to develop and perform its own blend of contemporary Latin American and British repertoire, and has just released its second album, Language of the Heart.
The evolution of the album has been complex and exciting, enabling a vibrant collaboration with the virtuoso bandoneonist Julian Rowlands, alongside input from Mercury Award-winning producer, Gerry Diver, Grammy nominated and Brit Award winner, Nick Ingman, Classic FM Hall of Fame composer Will Todd and many other talented and generous people.
The album showcases the Quartet's love affair with the works of Astor Piazzolla. Piazzolla's music is exclusively arranged for string quartet and bandoneon, echoing the haunting sound of the composer's own quintet. Melancholy tangos mix with the soulfully descriptive Four Seasons of Buenos Aires to create a unique mood.
Another featured work on the forthcoming album, a commission by Will Todd, a favourite with our audiences. Todd’s 2012 work Call of Wisdom premiered at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, subsequently topping the Classic FM Charts. His Birthday Quartet, is complex, approachable, moving and attractive.
A percentage of proceeds will go to the mental health charity Mind, who have agreed to support and endorse the album. We are delighted to have already raised over £3000 for Mind from the Language of the Heart project. You can read more about our reasons for supporting Mind on our Press page.
Whilst recording the album, the Quartet performed numerous concerts and worked with children in four London schools, sharing their enjoyment of Latin American music and prompting in-depth discussion with students about teamwork, musicianship and the power of potential. We raised money for Mind, opened discussions about mental illness with GCSE and A-Level students and performed for a fantastic event in aid of Surrey's premier mental health charity, Oakleaf.
Our focus is now on promoting the new album, with which we are lucky to have support from Classic FM. We're launching and touring the album, as well as continuing with new collaborations featuring choral music and tango dancers. Sign up to our mailing list to receive information about current and future events and check out the Diary page for concert listings.