Tell us about the members of the Pleyel Quartet. How long have you been playing as a quartet?
Our members have known each other for many, many years! I first met Lawrence (the Pleyel’s first violin) over 20 years ago, in a small chamber orchestra in which we were both
performing. Lawrence has been married to Bridget (our viola player) for a fair few years now, and they both live just along the road from Wendy (our cello player).
I formed the Pleyel Quartet in 2007. I had been looking for some like minded, experienced, professional musicians to form a quartet that would be dedicated to performing for weddings
and receptions. It was really important to me that they should enjoy playing a really wide range of music and also really enjoy performing for wedding ceremonies and receptions, and
so the Pleyel Quartet was born.
We are named after the eighteenth century composer Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. Very famous in his own life as a composer, music publisher and businessman, his music is largely forgotten now.
We’ve enjoyed uncovering it and exploring it, and performing it (along with our other repertoire). Light, airy, tuneful, it’s perfect music to play at to listen to.
How did you get into playing at weddings?
We all trained as classical musicians, but I think that at some point all of us felt that we didn’t just want to be performing in the rarefied atmosphere of a concert hall. So we’ve
all gone on to explore lots of different types of music, different styles of performing and different places to play music too. I think it’s really been this that’s brought us
together, very much a shared vision about what music is and who we want to share it with.
I know that we enjoy the repartee at weddings – especially receptions. And we love it when we’re busy playing away, and out of the corners of our eyes we see that guests are noticing
that we’re playing something that they recognize (be it classical, rat pack, film, folk or pop). And we absolutely love it when guests start singing along too!
Why would a bride to be choose a string quartet over a disco for example?
I think there’s something really magical about four people coming together and playing instruments that are hundreds of years old. The performance that is happening then, in that
moment, is absolutely unique. It’s different from all the others that have gone before, and will be different from all the others to come, even if it’s the same piece…particularly
if it’s the same piece.
Even if brides (and grooms and guests) don’t quite articulate it in these terms, they tell us this time and time again.
During which parts of the day do you usually play?
We usually receive bookings to play at the ceremony or reception, and very often both.
If we’re playing for a ceremony, we like to be playing as the first guests are arriving. After the venue has been announced and the invites sent out, it’s usually one of the first
impressions that the guests will have of the day itself. So we take great care in choosing music to enhance the bride’s idea of the day and create the atmosphere she wants.
We play for the bride walking up the aisle (the processional). We also play for the signing of the register and accompany any hymns. Finally, we play for the happy couple walking back
down the aisle together (the recessional).
We really love playing for receptions! The formal part of the day is over, the bride and groom are usually busy with the photographer, and guests and family are all enjoying chatting
with each other over a relaxing glass or two. We can work as closely with the bride as she wants in choosing the music that helps create and enhance this atmosphere.
Do you have a standard playlist?
We have a repertoire list, which we email to every bride that books us. It contains hundreds of pieces…everything from Bach to Bacharach!
Most brides know what music they would like as their processional, and most know what they would like as their recessional as well. Many aren’t quite so sure of what piece to
have as they’re signing the register, so we can help them with this part by suggesting some pieces that would work well for this part of the ceremony and that would fit with the
music they’ve already chosen.
We’re also happy to play whatever the bride and groom choose from our playlist for the reception, and are happy to advise on what kind of pieces, and how many, to pick for the
particular length of time that we’re booked for.
Anything that we don’t already in our repertoire we can arrange, no problem at all. Lawrence, our first violin, is also our arranger. He has many years experience in this and his
arrangements for the quartet are absolutely fantastic.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
For myself, I love knowing that I’ve helped the bride as much as I can, using my experience, knowledge and intuition. And I love knowing that I’ve organized the quartet side of things
to run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.
I think I would say that seeing it all come together, on the day, for the bride and groom is fantastic. And being part of all of that, doing what we do best, is really exciting.
How far in advance do couples need to book you?
We have some couples booking us 18 months in advance of their big day, but most tend to book 6 months/a year before their wedding. We’ve also had some very last minute phone calls!
What do you wish couples already knew before they came to you?
Every couple that comes to us is different. Each couple brings with them their own experiences and expectations of music/musicians; and also their own experiences and expectations
of working with their suppliers.
It’s really my job, as PR and Events Manager to the quartet, to find out as much as possible about them so that the day itself runs as smoothly and as perfectly as possible.
How can brides to be get in touch with you and where can they hear you play (eg wedding fairs)?
Brides to be are very welcome to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can call me on 07879 614 366.
We have a wide selection of recordings on our MySpace page
(everything from the Canon to My Love is Like A Red, Red Rose and a tango), where couples can listen to us, read about the quartet and our individual biographies, and see some of the
really lovely comments that brides and grooms we’ve played for have emailed us.
We also have a Facebook page, which like to post on regularly with news, and a bit of gossip too:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pleyel-Quartet/310854361890
A really important part of what we do is to take part in wedding fairs. We try and take part in at least a couple every year (usually in early autumn and early spring). This gives us
the chance of meeting couples and doing what love and what we do best : performing live.