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The 4 Strings publications of contemporary repertoire, published by Boosey & Hawkes and edited by Liz Partridge, are attracting additional interest in lockdown. Flexible string ensemble options and minus-1 audio tracks are ideal for remote musicians and teaching groups.

Launched to acclaim in 2017, the major Boosey & Hawkes publication series, 4 Strings has found additional currency in lockdown. With minus-1 audio recordings, easily accessible repertoire for all, and playability from home, the series is ideal for remote quartet performance as well as string ensemble teaching. Featured works embrace music by Piazzolla, James MacMillan and Max Richter, and by educational specialists including Christopher Norton and Katherine and Hugh Colledge.

All tracks have been recorded by the Tippett Quartet, providing full and minus-1 audio of the highest quality. Originally intended to be a resource to help practice between rehearsals, the audio tracks can now be used to bridge the gap in lockdown until normal teaching and performance activities are resumed. Players are encouraged to explore music from the series in a virtual string group.

Watch the new video hosted by series editor Liz Partridge and Jeremy Isaac of the Tippett Quartet.

All resources for players and teachers can be accessed by visiting www.boosey.com/4strings:

  • Minus-1 audio recorded by the Tippett Quartet available online

  • Full performance audio tracks available for a limited period, so you can hear how the pieces sound with all four instruments playing together.

  • Physical copies of the scores and parts can be purchased fromThe Shop at Boosey.com, with quartet parts currently available for digital download.

  • All 4 Strings scores and parts also available through the nkoda digital music subscription service.

  • String orchestra parts with additional double bass parts can be downloaded for a small fee and alternative violin 3 parts are freely available for groups without a viola.

To achieve best results for combined performance by remote players, software such as the Acappella Maker app is recommended.

"This is a wonderful project, providing a wide range of accessible music across the grade spectrum… The advantage of Liz Partridge's commissions and choices must lie in this general approachability combined with marvellous attention to detail in this fascinating teaching project."
The Strad

4 Strings consists of three progressive collections, compiled and edited by Liz Partridge, providing contemporary string quartet repertoire for new and developing ensembles. Following its launch in 2017, the success of 4 Strings led the series to be selected as a finalist in the 2018 Music Teacher Awards. Composers featured in the 4 Strings series range from James MacMillan, Sally Beamish, Diana Burrell, Astor Piazzolla and Max Richter through to educational specialists Christopher Norton and Katherine & Hugh Colledge. Many of the quartets have been expanded for optional use as string orchestra repertoire, offering a variety of options for existing groups and developing musicians.

Discover offers an introduction to quartet ensemble playing for string players of grade 1-3 standard, covering familiar keys, common rhythms and transparent musical forms with a focus on playing together as a unit. Explore is ideal for grade 4-5 players with some ensemble experience, featuring expanded key selections, more complex rhythms and simple introductions to extended techniques. Pioneer is suited to established quartets of grade 6-8 standard, with compositions featuring greater independence of parts and increased incorporation of extended techniques.

Liz Partridge, compiler and editor of the 4 Strings series, worked as a string quartet player and as an orchestral musician with BBC ensembles, English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She currently works freelance for the BBC Symphony Orchestra – an association that has developed her interest in commissioning and promoting new and accessible music for young people and amateurs. Teaching has always featured in her portfolio, and she regularly coaches individuals and ensembles of all ages and abilities. Her activity as a teacher and coach informs her work as an examiner for Trinity College, for whom she travels widely. She has given a number of presentations for the European String Teachers Association (ESTA) and sits on the council of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).

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