Default lineup: 4 members
Quartet: 2 x violin / viola / cello
* Professional and versatile quartet
* Best rates in the North East N. Yorkshire & Cumbria
* Repertoire ranges from classical to pop jazz tangoes film themes & trad.(also write arrangements)
* Perfect for many events
Solar Strings are a professional string quartet based in the North East of England. Consisting of four extremely dedicated professional string players the quartet is now one of the most established in the North East. With over ten years of experience in providing high quality live music at so many events the quartet has built a reputation for being professional reliable and flexible.
Solar Strings are vastly experienced in performing live music throughout the North East of England Cumbria and N. Yorkshire providing the perfect soundtrack to all types of events including weddings (ceremony drinks reception and wedding breakfast), product launches, exhibition previews, corporate functions and private parties.
They are available to perform in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Teesside, Cumbria and N. Yorkshire. Engagements outside these areas will also be considered. Please contact your agent with your requirements.
Solar Strings comprises of Jo Montgomery (violin 1), Kirsten Gibson (violin 2), Gayle Hutchinson (viola) and Ele Leckie (cello).
Jo Montgomery (vln 1)
Jo studied at Chethams School of Music in Manchester with Christopher Rowland. She was awarded places at the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Royal College of Music, London and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester but chose to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with violin professor, Detlef Hahn and Stephanie Gonley.
Since graduating Jo has worked with Ulster Orchestra, which involved live radio 3 broadcasts, recording sessions and a tour of Ireland. She has also performed and recorded with the BBC Philharmonic.
Jo joined the quartet in 1999 and since then has also worked regularly with the Northern Sinfonia as a freelance violinist, taking part in many concerts, recordings and education projects. She has also performed with Leslie Garrett, Sir Cliff Richard and The Avison Ensemble and recently performed on stage with The Royal Shakespeare Company.
Kirsten Gibson (vln 2)
Kirsten studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and Newcastle University. She graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a first class honours degree then in 2001 with an MLitt with distinction.
Whilst studying, she participated in master classes with Leon Spierer, Madeleine Mitchell and The Alberni String Quartet. She has since performed with Aled Jones and Thomas Allen.
Having joined the quartet in 1999, Kirsten is an experienced chamber musician as well as performing regularly in orchestras throughout the north of England. She currently combines teaching at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with performing and doctoral research.
Gayle Hutchinson (viola)
Gayle is from County Durham. She formed Solar Strings while studying for a BA (Hons) Music at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She has also worked with a range of artists such as Smoove & Turrell (Jalapeno Records), The Matinee Orchestra (Arable Records), Beccy Owen and Mercury Music Award nominee Kathryn Williams, with whom she performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London and recorded the album Old Low Light.
Ele Leckie (cello)
Born in 1975, cellist Ele Leckie first studied under a scholarship at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music then progressed on to the Royal College of Music to learn with Anna Shuttleworth and Alexander Bailey. Here she also studied piano with Bernard Roberts and chamber music with The Chilingirian Quartet. She has taken part in many masterclasses, most notably with William Pleeth and Ben Zander, the latter of which was filmed and broadcast for the BBC.
She worked as an orchestral musician with the Wellington Sinfonia in New Zealand for two years and since returning to the UK, has performed with artists ranging from the Royal Shakespeare Company (on stage and BBC Radio 4 broadcast), to Peppa Pig and Mr. Bump for Channel 5 Milkshake! Tour. She has played on touring West End productions and has performed and recorded with musicians such as Lesley Garrett, classical pianist John Lill and Paul Smith of the band Maximo Park.
Ele currently divides her time between performing with the quartet and freelance playing and teaching in the North East of England.
Solar Strings will provide the perfect soundtrack for your special day. They can provide live music for any combination of the following:
Pre-ceremony drinks - music played by a string quartet is the perfect accompaniment to help you unwind whilst catching up with family and friends. (approx 30 mins).
Wedding Ceremony - during the wait for the bride, live music helps to put the wedding party at ease whilst waiting for the arrival of the bride. The quartet generally play for 15 minutes prior to the ceremony, then again during the entrance, register signing and exit, for which you can choose specific music from the repertoire. If your ceremony is religious, they can usually arrange accompaniment hymn music (approx 45 mins).
Photos and Drinks Reception - after a seamless relocation to another room or even another venue, Aurora Strings can either play a mixed repertoire from the list or they can adapt to suit your requirements (approx 1 hour).
Wedding Breakfast - live music provides the perfect relaxing ambience to accompany the meal (approx 2 hours).
Live music from a string quartet makes such a difference when it comes to entertaining clients. Corporate events include sponsorship receptions, VIP receptions, car launches, exhibition previews and university dinners. Clients include Newcastle Building Society, Tyneside Cinema, BALTIC, RAF Boulmer, Newcastle City Council, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria University, Dance City and City Motors.
Events include BBC Children In Need, Gateshead Flower Show, The Great North Run VIP event and the launch of the Northern Lights Film Festival.
The quartet has played for numerous celebrities, including Gordon Ramsey, Charlie Dimmock, Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Alistair Campbell, Steve Cram and Brendan Foster.
Recording and Session Work-
The quartet is experienced in recording and session work. Recent involvement has included strings for Gary Hilton - Not Afraid to be Happy as well as Smoove - Coming Back and Kathryn Williams' Shop Window EP. The quartet have also worked independently with artists such as The Divine Comedy, Sir Cliff Richard, Beccy Owen (Fairy Snuff), The Matinee Orchestra (Arable Records), Loon and Smoove & Turrell (Jalapeno Records).
Solar Strings' Comments
"Your playing added a real touch of class to the proceedings. In addition to playing beautifully, you were so accommodating and flexible. Things fell behind a little but ‘the band played on’ beyond expected while there were still guests in the Great Hall. Sincere thanks – I will certainly recommend you."
Bob Watson (Durham Castle)
"Lots of people commented on aolar strings and how good you all sounded. The photographer, who has attended lots of weddings, said that you were the best string quartet he had heard, which says a lot about your playing
and talents. Once again thanks for making our day special."
Ged and Liz Carlin (Seaham Hall)