Education & Outreach

We are keen to bring classical music to a wider audience and enjoy working with young children, students and adults. Below are some of the things we do.

Family Concerts

These are short concerts of varied music ranging from Bach and Purcell right through to contemporary works. They include introductions to the music with a fun and insightful approach. If appropriate, the concerts can involve the children and would include a question and answer session.

Children’s Workshops

A workshop would usually include a shorter performance than above, and focuses on interaction with the children (with or without instruments). This would typically include games, rhythmical exercises, singing and similar activities.

Compositional Workshops

Explore rhythm and melody through a series of musical games and a  “create your own” chamber music piece by the end of the session. This can be available for all age groups. 

Improvisation

Donald takes workshops in improvisation. These provide an insight into different styles of music, including classical, folk, world, jazz and contemporary, and can be for any instrumentation, age or ability.

Lecture Recitals

We combine playing with presenting a particular subject close to our heart. The subjects range from a specific piece to a specific composer and his relationship to the string quartet. We also attempt to cast light on the many challenges that playing in a string quartet entails. The length of these lectures is normally one hour. They typically involve numerous music examples, and might conclude with a complete performance of a work.

Examples:

  • Mendelssohn and the string quartet: Experiencing a recent upswing in popularity, Mendelssohn’s string quartets are performed more often than ever. We examine the early quartets, composed by an 18-year-old child prodigy, through the “middle” ones, to his last heart-wrenching “requiem” for his sister Fanny.
  • Britten and the string quartet: We examine one of the greatest British composers of the 20th century, and his passion for the string quartet medium.
  • Intonation – theory and practice: We present the theory behind the problematic but fascinating subject of intonation, as well as the practice of making a string quartet sound in tune.

Other topics:

  • Schubert’s late quartets
  • The birth of the string quartet
  • Dutilleux’s “Ainsi la Nuit”
  • Schumann and the string quartet