What is a string quartet?
A string quartet is an ensemble of four string players - two violinists, a viola player and a cellist. Together they cover the full range of musical pitch, with the violins taking the highest melodies, the viola (a slightly larger violin) covering the middle range, and the cello providing the bass.
Here are some examples of string ensembles on Encore:
Which events are string quartets suitable for?
Because of their rich history and association with refined classical music, you’re more likely to find string quartets performing at classy, formal occasions like weddings, corporate product launches, or hotel lobbies. But string quartets are very versatile. Our groups regularly perform at:
- Summer garden parties
- Christmas parties
- Birthday parties
- Private parties
- Corporate functions
- Charity events
Hiring a wedding string quartet is a popular option, as the group can play during the wedding ceremony, drinks reception, or even to accompany a meal. As far as wedding music goes, you can’t beat the unique atmosphere provided by a professional string quartet.
What music can string quartets play?
The first music for string quartet was written back in the 1750s by Joseph Haydn, one of the ‘big three’ classical composers (alongside Mozart and Beethoven). But since then string quartets have ditched their powdered wigs and frilly coats and can play almost any genre of music you could think of, from smooth jazz covers to pop musicals! Our quartets comprise some of the best classical musicians around, so no request will be too difficult for these talented musicians.
Here are some examples of the most popular string quartet repertoire:
|Air on a G String - J.S. Bach|
|Minuet - Luigi Boccherini|
|Canon in D - Pachelbel|
|Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade) – W.A. Mozart|
|Palladio - Karl Jenkins|
|Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) – Wagner|
|Wedding March – Mendelssohn|
|Ave Maria – F. Schubert|
|Trumpet Voluntary (aka Prince of Denmark March) – J. Clarke|
|Pop & Jazz|
|All You Need Is love - The Beatles|
|Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen|
|Come Away with Me - Norah Jones|
|Misty - Erroll Garner|
|Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra|
|Pirates of the Caribbean - Hans Zimmer|
|Titanic - John Williams|
How much does it cost to hire a string quartet?
Each group will set its own rates, but a fee of around £150-£200 per person or £800 total for two hours of playing is a roughly standard amount for many events. Some groups have a set fee for an event while some will charge hourly. When you submit your Encore enquiry, we’ll show you a graph of expected rates to guide your budget selection.
Typical string quartet prices:
|Up to 1 hour||£700|
|1 to 2 hours||£850|
|2 to 3 hours||£950|
The exact quote for your event may depend on several factors, such as how far the musicians will need to travel, and whether there will be extended waiting periods between their sets. Prices vary by geography, with string quartets in London costing more than those based in Scotland or the North of England. Prices will also vary depending on how experienced the quartet are and how in-demand they are.
The easiest way to compare quotes for your event is to fill out our short enquiry form, which we’ll then use to send you prices from available musicians. You’ll see quotes which are based on your exact event details, and they’ll only be from musicians with confirmed availability on your date, so it’s the easiest and quickest way to find and book a string quartet!
Set up details
How much space does a string quartet need?
Approximately 2 x 3 meters - imagine a Volkswagen Beetle with half of the bonnet missing. The musicians' bows will be moving, so guests shouldn't stand/be seated too close. Instruments are very fragile and expensive so it's best to keep children and exuberant dancers at a safe distance! If guests are curious, many musicians will be happy to talk about their instruments, so feel free to ask.
How long does a string quartet need to set up?
The string quartet you hire will arrive at least 30 minutes before the time you’d like them to begin performing. This will give them a chance to tune up their instruments and get familiar with the acoustics of the space they’ll be performing in.
How long can a string quartet play for?
String quartet performances can vary in length from 30 minutes to over 3 hours in total, and our groups are able to adjust their timings depending on your needs. Usually the performance will be divided into sets of 45 mins to 1 hour each, in order to give the musicians a break in between.
You can either ask the group to play all their sets back to back, or spread throughout the day - just be sure to let them know when you enquire, as it may affect the quote if they need to stay at the venue for longer.
What equipment do I need to provide for a string quartet?
Four chairs with no arms. String quartets will generally bring their own music stands. Most groups play without, but if the musicians are using microphones or amplification, then they’ll need access to plug sockets.
Can a string quartet play outside?
Quartets can play outdoors during the warmer months, but they will need shelter from rain and sun, which can damage the wood of their instruments. Quartets generally don't play outside in the colder months, as low temperatures can damage the instruments, but it's worth asking as they may have backup instruments they can use. No matter the season, always tell the quartet if your event is outside and make sure that you can provide cover. Check with your venue if you think this might be a problem.
Can a string quartet take song requests?
Absolutely! Quartets love adding new pieces to their repertoire, and if they can’t find an arrangement, will often tailor one themselves for your event. This may add an additional fee to your booking, but is well worth the extra expense to hear your favourite song played in a new and exciting way.
If you are going to ask for a new song, make sure you ask for this as early as possible. A quartet would ideally have a few weeks to get the song arranged and rehearsed properly, though they may be able to do this at short notice if they are particularly experienced.
Booking with Encore
Does Encore have any string quartets in my area?
At Encore we have over 40,000 professional musicians on our books, so we pride ourselves on being able to find you a local musician, wherever you are in the UK. You can access our list of string quartets in your area by clicking here and choosing your location from the list. Our friendly and professional team are experts in string quartet hire, so you can also give us a call on 020 3111 1480 Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, and we’ll be happy to help!
How far in advance should I book?
We advise booking as soon as possible, especially if you have special musical requests, but we handle last-minute musician bookings all the time at Encore and can easily find a string quartet at short notice.
String Quartets are particularly busy during wedding season (May to October), so if you would like a quartet to perform at your wedding we recommend booking as soon as you have your venue arranged. If you're looking for a string quartet for an event within the next few weeks, get in touch with our team at [email protected].
How do I handle contracts and payment?
The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen quartet, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payment system.
You can learn more about the Encore booking process here or email [email protected].
Can you recommend me a great string quartet for my event?
The best way to make sure you find the best group for your event to match your event is to complete our enquiry form. You’ll then receive quotes and recordings from available Encore musicians near you. But if you’d prefer to go directly to a musicians, some of our most popular string groups are: