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Harpist

Virginia and Florence Astley

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About Virginia and Florence

We are a flute and harp duo available to play for special occasions and events. Florence also performs as a solo harpist.
Harpist
Dorchester

Virginia Astley is a songwriter and musician now living in West Dorset. Virginia studied flute and piano at Chethams School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where her teachers included Trevor Wye and Kate Lukas. After leaving college she established herself as a songwriter and composer, signing to Warner/Chappell. She produced five albums including the celebrated, From Gardens Where We Feel Secure and worked with musicians ranging from Pete Townshend to Ryuichi Sakamoto. Virginia and her daughter Florence regularly appear together as a flute and harp duo. Festivals this summer included Beaminster and the Port Eliot Festival. Florence Astley studied harp and piano at the junior RCM where her teachers included Emily Jeffrey and Daphne Boden. She also studied at the Royal Welsh College. Florence is very experienced at performing for weddings in all kinds of venues from castles to forests.

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
I can perform with backing tracks
Encore awards
4th Encoreversary
Saved the day!
Musicianship
Genres:
Classical, Baroque, Classical crossover, Medieval music, Folk, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional English folk
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Instruments:
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Event types:
Wedding proposal, Wedding, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Concert, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Burns night, Birthday party, New Year's Eve
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Other skills:
Arranger, Songwriter, Instrumental teaching, Theory teaching, Music therapy
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Song list

Canon in D Pachelbel
Ave Maria - Bach Gounod version
Sonata in E flat major - Bach
Dance of the Blessed Spirits - Gluck
Rondo - Bochsa
Salut d'Amour - Elgar
Lullaby - Brahms
Ground Bass in F with variations - Purcell
Spring, Autumn and Winter (The Four Seasons) - Vivaldi
Suite in B minor - Bach
The Swan - Saint Saens
Lakme (from The Flower Duet) - Delibes
Harp Concerto - Handel
Nocturne - Glinka
Variations on a Theme of Mozart - Glinka
Serenade Mélancolique - Hasselmans
Soupir and Offrande - Tournier
Au Bord du Ruisseau - Renie
Watching The Wheat - John Thomas
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Harold Arlen
All the Things You Are - Jerome Kern
Strangers in the Night - Bert Kaempfert
Linden Lee - Vaughan Williams
Banks of Allen Water - Traditional
Banks of Green Willow - Traditional
Mwyfanwy - Traditional
Greensleeves - Traditional
David of the White Rock - Traditional
Calon Lan - Traditional
Danny Boy - Traditional
Down by the Valley Gardens - Traditional
Carrickfergus - Traditional
Over the Sea to Skye - Traditional
Tunes from Thomas Hardy's father's and grandfather's songbooks
Selection of WW1 music and songs
Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

We always try our best to be flexible to help ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible. If timings change slightly in the run up to the event just let us know.

How much time do you need to set up?

We usually set up about 1 to 1.5 hours before the performance time.

Is the transport of your harp included in your quote?

Definitely - We include all travel costs, including the transport of harp, in the quotes.

Do you need any equipment provided to play outdoors?

None at all - our instruments are played acoustically so don't need any equipment. If it is raining then we will need cover or perform indoors as our instruments are valuable and could be damaged.

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

We can discuss set lists and the kind of music you like and perform specific pieces of your choice within the list.

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

If a song isn't included in our song list there may still be a chance we already know it. If there is a special song you'd like us to learn we are happy to do this for you. There is a fee of £30 for this service to take into account rehearsal times etc.

What do your clients love most about your performances?

The gentle relaxed atmosphere our music creates. People say we are professional, calm and friendly.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

Sherborne Abbey, Athelhampton House, Montacute House, Barrington Court, Forde Abbey, Max Gate, Kestle Barton, Various festivals including Beaminster, Port Eliot, Sea Change, Dorchester, Bridport, Sevenoaks and Wordsworth Literary festivals

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

Too many to mention. But good music of all genres.

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Difficult to answer this as all our performances are important to us.

Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£180
Up to 1 hour£280
Up to 2 hours£350
Up to 3 hours£420

Reviews

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From Encore customers:

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Caroline O, 3 years ago

They were so lovely...professional and so lovely to meet! Can't thank them enough.

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John H, 2 years ago

I always know when Virginia and Florence Astley are performing at Max Gate because the property is full of people who have come to watch them. Thomas Hardy's house comes alive with flute, harp and piano music of the period, woven together by Hardy anecdotes and stories. Their performances are always entertaining, intelligent and incredibly beautiful.

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Colin T, 2 years ago

I had a really magical afternoon listening to Gini and Florence Astley at Max Gate in Dorchester the National Trust run home of the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. The music was beautifully introduced and put into context by both performers, some coming from the Hardy family Music Manusripts and others such as Egdon Heath inspired by the authors writing. Gini and Florence were very entertaining and it was clear that we were listening to two extremely acomplished performers playing as one. I recomend them to anyone unreservedly. Colin Thompson

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