How do you choose the classical music ensembles you need for your event or wedding?

Hire Conservatory Alumni offers many types of classical music ensembles as well as jazz ensembles. Below are descriptions of some to help you better understand how they differ. Read through the list to see which ensemble would be best for your event. If you are still not sure, then fill out the form at the bottom of this page with any questions you might have, and we will help you to choose the best ensemble for your needs.

The following classical music ensembles proceed from smaller to larger. Keep in mind that larger classical music ensembles will provide you with a richer harmonic fabric, with more interesting contrapuntal writing between the multiple parts. However, having more musicians in a classical music ensemble also means that it will be more expensive.

Also, note that most classical music is based on four part harmony. Just think of a hymn- four parts, with a soprano, alto, tenor, and cello. Classical music ensembles are formed in the same manner, with four the four parts commonly represented by the string quartet, consisting of two violinists, one violist, and one cellist. Therefore, taking away one or more of these voices will make the music performed less full and complete, although no less beautiful. While classical music ensembles smaller than a quartet each have their own textural qualities, they can be extremely moving and entertaining due to their intimate nature.


Classical Music Ensembles



Solo Instrument/Vocalist

Violin and piano are the most popular solo instruments, but solo flute, trumpet, organ and harp also work well. A solo vocalist to sing your favorite song is also a possibility. Having only one musician provides for flexibility as well as the ability to experience the personality of that particular instrument. Solo performances can be very moving. Some suggestions for use of a solo violinist include:

  • strolling violinist for small dinner parties
  • paired with your church organist or pianist for weddings
  • house concerts
  • school demonstrations

Solo Pianists, another popular option, are good for the following:

  • background music in a hotel or store lobby (or any space with the availability of a piano)
  • house concerts
  • background music for a home gathering


Duos

Adding another instrument is an elegant solution to a tight budget and more intimate venue. Combinations include 2 violins, violin and flute, and violin and viola, or violin and cello. The duo consisting of 2 violinists or violin and flute provide an airy, delicate sound. Violin and viola adds depth to the sound, and is similar to the sound of a soprano and alto singers together. Violin and cello provides the outline of harmony found in standard four part writing. Because there are only two musicians, duos are best for more intimate spaces. Duos are a good choice for:

  • small cocktail hour events
  • weddings in intimate venues
  • house concerts


String Trios

Usually consisting of a violinist, violist, and cellist, trios are an excellent value, providing the basic outline of harmony, while saving you the expense of another musician. Trios, by nature, are not as complete or savory and do not produce as much volume as a string quartet, but are good for smaller venues or those on a budget. Piano trios are another option, made up of a violinist, cellist, and pianist. Many great works have been written for piano trio, making it a good choice for concertizing. Hire a trio for:

  • smaller corporate events
  • small to medium sized wedding ceremony and reception venues
  • house concerts, especially piano trios
  • those on a tight budget
  • hotel or store lobbies (piano trio, with availability of a piano)


String Quartets

The classical music ensemble embodiment of full textured, four part harmonic writing. Because string quartets, made up of two violinists, one violist, and one cellist, have four members, they are able to provide a full harmonic texture, thus sounding definite. Not only is the harmonic structure completely defined, but by virtue of having four musicians, quartets produce enough sound to fill larger spaces. Also, because almost every great composer has written masterpieces for string quartet, house concerts and other performances can be very successful. These qualities make string quartets the most versatile classical music ensemble. String quartets an excellent classical music ensemble for:

  • wedding ceremonies and receptions
  • corporate events entertainment
  • house concerts and other concertizing


Quintets

There are a few combinations of quintets for you to consider. To add a fanfare quality to you wedding, you might like to hire a string quartet with trumpet. Or for larger venues, a string quintet (two violinists, two violists, and one cellist, or two cellists and only one violist) is a good option, making a lusher sound than a string quartet. String quartets are a good option for:

  • fanfare-like wedding ceremonies (string quartet with trumpet)
  • warm, lush sound for wedding ceremonies (string quintet)
  • large corporate events


Chamber Orchestras

If you really want to make a statement at a wedding or corporate event, then you should hire a chamber orchestra. Consisting from anywhere from 8-20 musicians, a conductorless chamber orchestra fills any space with a luxurious wash of sound. Imagine a chamber orchestra performing Strauss waltzes, your guests to dance to wonderful live music. Having a chamber orchestra at your event can make for a day remembered forever. Chamber orchestras are exceptional for:

  • large, opulent wedding ceremonies and receptions
  • important corporate events
  • waltzing


Jazz Ensembles (New York only)

Jazz ensembles are perfect for after-dinner dancing. Our jazz ensembles play in many different styles, and can lighten the mood with sophistication. If you are interested in hiring a Juilliard trained jazz ensemble, please contact us.



Ask Us a Question

Classical music ensembles make your events polished and sublime. If you still have questions about which classical music ensemble is right for your event or wedding, or if you would like Juilliard trained musicians to perform at your event, please feel free to contact us through the form at the bottom of the page, or by phone at 630-269-9307, and a Juilliard trained professional musician will assist you in selecting the perfect classical music ensemble for your needs.

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