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Elegance String Quartet Performs Musical Hits in a Fresh Way

By Marina Jokic

Under the guidance of music director Ray Bicolli, Elegance String Quartet has been entertaining people at hundreds of wedding ceremonies, cocktail hours, and other private events. Bicolli aims to inspire and excite the audience with unexpected twists and the intermixing of different genres. This fresh and exciting style has elevated the quartet's reputation and propelled them to performing with some of the music business' most renowned names.

Performing at venues such as New York's Radio City Hall and Moscow's Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Elegance String Quartet has played alongside celebrities such as Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, Branford Marsalis, and Kygo and has also been featured on Entertainers Worldwide.

"I do not want to play a piece of music perfectly; that has been done many times before," Bicolli said. "I don't think people want to hear perfection, [but] I think they want to be inspired and entertained [?they] want to feel something, and we want to connect them to the music that we create."

Bicolli likes to create an unforgettable experience for the audience, to create something unexpected and distinctive. Depending on the venue, the quartet likes to experiment with performing classical pieces in their own, unique way which sometimes includes integrating rhythm and loop pedals and other special effects. Improvisation is an integral part of their inimitable repertoire, setting them apart from other quartets and imparting a more complete band sound to their music.

"Playing music is a little bit like dating: either there is chemistry or there is not," Bicolli said. "You need players [who] work together well; it didn't take long for us to realize that we simply jelled together every time we played."

This unspoken understanding among the members of the quartet is manifested in the near-perfect synchronicity of their songs. Bicolli feels lucky to be a part of such a team whose members share a common sensibility and understanding of music.

"I think the main reason we stand out among other groups is that we work hard at making our music sound authentic," he said. "I also believe, at least so far, that we are the only string quartet group in the area that uses rhythm pedals, loop pedals, and other special effects pedals in our performances."

Clients are often in awe because they have never heard a string quartet sound like a full-fledged band. Elegance String Quartet never plays an instrument over a karaoke track, which often locks entertainers in a creative box. Instead, the pedals and sound effects follow the quartet's lead, and they have the freedom to take the song wherever they want.

"It gets contagious because within the same song we can shift from a pure classical sound to a techno remix to a shuffle backbeat tempo and anything else that fits the event," Bicolli said. "If people call because they heard us live four years ago, that means that we did something exciting enough for them to remember our name to this day."

Some clients choose the sound upgrade packages which the quartet offers, a cheaper option than hiring the entire band. In those situations, the quartet works with clients to meet their budgetary needs without shortchanging the quality of the entertainment.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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