“We all just love Manchester. It’s such an amazing hub for the arts”

Discover the musical journey of the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, a talented group of Manchester-based musicians, as they discuss their experiences and upcoming performance at the Manchester Guitar Festival.

The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a group of four highly skilled musicians, each with their own unique style and background.

Made up of Michael Baker, Vasilis Bessas, James Jervis, and Rory Russell, the quartet formed during their time at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where they bonded over their shared passion for the guitar.

Since then, they have performed all over the world, gaining a reputation for their eclectic range of music that spans everything from classical to Brazilian and flamenco.

Despite their extensive travels, the quartet has always called Manchester home.

Speaking about their love for the city, they say that its thriving arts scene, including venues such as the Stoller Hall and Bridgewater Hall, make it a fantastic place for musicians to be based.

Michael Baker said: “We all just love Manchester. It is such an important hub for the arts in general, but with major music venues like Stoller Hall and Bridgwater, it is fantastic for music.”

They credit the Royal Northern College of Music with helping to shape their careers, citing the supportive atmosphere and high-calibre teaching as key factors in their success.

He continued said: “We all had a fantastic time at the RNCM. The guitar department was always so supportive of each other and the teaching was second-to-none!

“To have such a high calibre of teaching from Gordon Crosskey (who is an absolute legend,) and Craig Ogden was invaluable.

“We were also fortunate enough to have visiting tutors give masterclasses while we were there too. The whole college had a really great feel to it and its reputation precedes it.”

For those unfamiliar with the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet’s music, they describe themselves as an eclectic group that is not defined by any one genre.

While they are classically trained, their repertoire spans a wide range of styles, including gypsy jazz, traditional Brazilian music, and flamenco. They say that the guitar is an instrument that can encompass many different types of music, and they are always looking for new ways to incorporate different sounds and influences into their performances.

Over the years, the quartet has played in some incredible venues all over the world, from an ancient outdoor amphitheatre in Athens, Greece, to a stunning concert hall halfway up a skyscraper in South Korea.

However, they say that playing at the Royal Albert Hall for Classic FM Live was a particular highlight for them, due to the venue’s rich history and the opportunity to perform to a packed audience.

Looking ahead to their upcoming performance at the Manchester Guitar Festival, the quartet promises a diverse range of music that should appeal to everyone.

They will be playing some of their classic pieces, as well as some new material that they have specifically learned for the festival. It promises to be a fitting end to what has already been a successful festival, and the quartet says they are looking forward to being a part of it.

Describing their sound, Michael said: “We’ve got a bit of something for everyone in our performances. We’ll be playing some of our old favourites along with some brand-new material we’ve put together specifically for the festival. We’re really looking forward to it!”

With their eclectic range of music and undeniable talent, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is sure to deliver a truly unforgettable performance.

You can learn more about the Manchester Guitar Festival by clicking here.


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