BEING called classical music’s answer to Abba makes Emma Denton laugh.
As one quarter of the acclaimed Carducci Quartet made up of two couples, it isn’t the first time she’s heard this said.
Emma and husband Eoin formed the musical foursome with Michelle and Matthew Fleming and have made an international name for themselves through their performances.
With Michelle and Matthew on violin, Eoin on viola and Emma on cello, the quartet has played all over the world to critical acclaim.
Eight years ago they thought it would be a nice idea to hold a music festival in Emma’s home village of Highnam, near Gloucester, and so the Carducci Festival was born.
It opens tonight (may 16) and runs for three days, with performances by the quartet, accompanied by guests musicians they have worked with before.
A total of five concerts are on the programme this year in and around Highnam, with performances by pianist Charles Owen, violinist Katharine Gowers and guitar duo The Katona Twins.
The festival makes use of several venues in the village for its concerts, including beautiful Highnam Court, the village church and the parish rooms.
“I grew up in Highnam and Matthew and I married in the church here so it’s really nice to perform in the village in places I know and love so well,” said Emma.
“We decided that running our own festival was a great idea because we could invite other artists that we had enjoyed working with.
“Highnam seemed an obvious place because we had so many local connections.”
“The first year we did it was a bit of a shock as we organised it all ourselves from booking the guests, arranging the venues, selling the tickets doing all the promotion.
“”It’s amazing to think we’ve reached our eighth year - of course we have help doing all the organising now!”
This year Emma is particularly looking forward to the Family Concert tomorrow at 11am, where children from two local primary schools will be performing.
“We have been working with young musicians from Highnam and Heron primary schools and will be playing with them at this concert,” said Emma. “It’s been great fun and it is wonderful to see so many young people enjoying their music.”
Emma’s own two young children - Charlie and Daisy - have both taken after their parents in their musical abilities.
“Thing is, because of us and the instruments we play, they think all boys should play violins and all girls the cello!” said Emma.
The festival ends on Sunday with a finale at Holy Innocent’s church, featuring The Katona Twins and the Quartet playing works by Boccherini, Vivaldi and Piazzolla.
“It should be a foot-tapping finale,” said Emma.
* Book tickets for the festival on 01452 396572 or visit www.carduccifestivalhighnam.co.uk