Guildhall String Ensemble (Guildhall Strings)
Three decades after its formation, the ensemble is still on an upward path in terms of popularity, thoroughness and critical acclaim. The overall impression the orchestra seems to imprint on critics is of the prolific collaboration of talented musicians, as opposed to conformity to a leader’s view and directions. The ensemble has been described as working in harmony and cohesion and the same time, each player manifesting their individuality and originality. In addition to this, live performances have been described as energetic and colourful on a visual level, which contrasts with the stereotype of visual stiffness orchestras are typically branded with.
Drawing its origins from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where its players were trained, the Guildhall String Ensemble was formed in 1981 and has since been touring the world and receiving critical endorsement in every location. Besides playing great classical works such as those of Dvorak, Mozart and Bach, and the orchestra also commissioned new compositions, working with composers such as John Woolrich and Robert Saxton. Additionally, the group plays other contemporary music, further enlarging and diversifying its repertoire. For many years it has established a close partnership with BBC Radio 3 as well as Classic FM.
Performances and recordings
In terms of recordings, the orchestra has worked closely with the BMG and RCA record labels, producing various discs which included internationally famous string pieces by composers such as Stravinsky, Handel and Vivaldi, as well as oboe concertos. The first record was released in December 1987, when Robert Salter (who is a violinist) was the ensemble’s Musical Director, and was entitled ‘’English Music For Strings’’, compiling works written by composers such as Sir William Walton, John Ireland, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and others. With regards to international tours, the group has travelled across the planet to locations such as the Asia, India, the USA and South America.