Recognised as one of the world’s leading guitar quartets, the award-winning Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative group known for its extraordinary ensemble in performance, expansive repertoire and ground-breaking work in developing the guitar quartet medium. The quartet has performed extensively both internationally and across the UK and their recordings for Chandos Records have been critically acclaimed.
Performance highlights have included an invitation to perform at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The concert also featured Maxim Vengerov, Debbie Wiseman, Laura Wright and Wayne Marshall and was broadcast on Classic FM. The ensemble made its debut in Asia in 2014 with a series of concerts in Seoul and since then they have regularly returned, most recently with a tour of South Korea in 2022.
Formed at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1999 under the guidance of Craig Ogden and Gordon Crosskey, the quartet is thrilled to announce that Craig Ogden will be joining the group to replace Rory Russell.
Rory commented “It is with great sadness that I have made the decision to step back from performing with the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet. Being asked to join the quartet, back in 2006, was a huge sense of pride for me and my career with them the greatest of adventures. They are my closest friends and sharing the stage with them has been an honour. I am so proud of our 5 records with Chandos and of our many concerts and collaborations. I am delighted that Craig Ogden has agreed to take my place in the quartet and I am sure that his joining will mark the beginning of a new period of success for the group. The quartet is a remarkable ensemble and I will look forward to watching what the future has in store for it. I would like to thank Mike, Vasilis and James for 17 years of friendship and music making and I wish them all the very best for the future.”
Australian born Craig Ogden is one of the most successful classical guitarists of his generation. A household name to listeners of Classic FM and BBC Radio 3, both critically and popularly acclaimed with a string of No.1 recordings to his name, he has an international career as a soloist and chamber musician in recital, a prolific recording artist and as a concerto soloist with orchestras around the world. Craig Ogden said “I have always been a huge fan of the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet and admired their many achievements over the years. Although sorry to see Rory leave, I am delighted to be joining this world class ensemble and look forward to recording and performing live with them in the future.”
Future projects for the quartet include an exciting recording collaboration with Clarice Assad of music from Latin America to be released by Chandos Records and a supporting tour.
Mike Baker said “Vasilis, James and I want to take this opportunity to thank Rory for his immense contribution to the quartet and friendship over the past 16+ years. He has been an integral part of the quartet’s success through his unwavering dedication and musical artistry. We have been on an amazing journey together and we will truly miss him in our future endeavours.
Whilst we are very saddened that Rory will be stepping back from the group, we are absolutely thrilled and humbled to be welcoming Craig into the quartet as our newest member. He has always taken a huge interest in the group since its inception and he has actively championed us throughout our careers, so to have him playing alongside us now is a huge privilege and honour.
We all know Craig will fit in with ease. As well as being a world-renowned soloist, he truly is an exceptional chamber musician and we can’t wait to see what direction we go with the group now and what new adventures our future holds.”
Aquarelle Guitar Quartet
Mike Baker, Vasilis Bessas, James Jervis, Craig Ogden
“with outstanding playing and infectious spirit, this is no mere niche guitar CD, but a luscious and lively general-appeal winner” BBC Music Magazine
“this British ensemble seems incapable of playing with less than a glorious range of sound, perfect ensemble, and exquisite taste. This is superb playing, and the music is ravishing.”
American Record Guide