BRINGING a taste of classical music to Inverness Town House on Thursday lunchtime will be the Glasgow based Astrid String Quartet with some of the music they enjoy playing most.
"We basically chose our a selection of our favourite pieces that we have worked on over the years," viola player Sarah Leonard explained.
"The Grieg in particular (String Quartet No 1 in G minor, Op 27) is very special to us, as it was the first piece that we started learning together when we first formed as a student ensemble at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
"We then subsequently won the Mabel Glover string quartet competition with a performance of that piece and that’s when we knew we wanted to pursue a career together."
Also on the programme will be the Haydn quartet opus 76, no 4.
"It is nicknamed the ‘Sunrise’ quartet due its opening — a rising theme in the first violin, which soars over sustained chords held by the second violin, viola and cello," Leonard continued.
"The first movement then progresses to get much livelier, similar to the progression of the day."
After forming in the summer of 2011, the Astrid String Quartet were one of the first musical ensembles to be selected for the Made in Scotland showcase representing the best of Scottish performing arts at the Fringe Festival.
During their chamber music series, the ensemble performed five quintets in five days and collaborated with musicians such as Scott Mitchell, Dávur Juul Magnussen (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) and William Conway (Chamber Orchestra of Europe). They have since performed the Schubert string quintet during a joint concert with cellist Ursula Smith.
The quartet are passionate about new music and have performed numerous world premieres, including Alistair Nicholson’s String Quartet no. 2 Keeper of the Sheep in the St Magnus Festival 2014. In April, the quartet opened the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s acclaimed Plug festival for contemporary music with world premieres of quartets by Shona McKay, Thomas Butler and Lucy Hollingworth. Astrid commissioned works by Richard Greer and Claire McCue for string quartet and trombone for their 2013 series Five by Five, and their premier was described by The Strad magazine as "a festival highlight".
In summer 2013, the quartet also premiered David Donaldson’s new score Requiem For A World with counter-tenor Steve Dugardin in association with Cryptic. The quartet worked with young Scottish composer Peter Longworth on his new string quartet, Giri Toscani, in 2012, which they performed at the Tolbooth in Stirling.
The quartet has an all female line up, but Leonard says that is not unusual.
"You tend to find it a lot in quartets that perform popular repertoire," she said.
"It is purely a coincidence that the Astrid quartet is an all-female ensemble. We are just four friends that all shared a passion for chamber music."
Admission for the At One With Music performance at Inverness Town House on Thursday 18th December costs £6 for adults and £1 for children. Doors open at 12.30pm. The concert starts at 1pm and will last for approximately 55 minutes.