Based: Cape Town
The traditional String Quartet (two violins, viola and cello) is regarded as the purest form of chamber music and has become the most sought after ensemble for functions around the world.
The Winelands String Quartet, based in Cape Town, is made up of highly experienced professionals: husband and wife Alan and Marianne McLean, Sandra Orchard and Colleen Oxtoby. We are all classically trained, have enjoyed a musical camaraderie for many years, and approach our craft with passion, enthusiasm, and integrity.
Alan McLean (violin)
While completing a degree in Civil Engineering at UCT, Alan studied the violin part-time with Pierre De Groote and Peter Carter. He led the UCT String Orchestra, and was soon recruited to play chamber music with fellow musicians at the College of Music. Over the years, while practising as a Civil Engineer, he has performed extensively as leader of the Gilbert and Sullivan Orchestra, Cape Sinfonia and Eastern Cape Philharmonic. He also appeared as freelance musician with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. His greatest passion is in the field of chamber music. Alan has collaborated and performed with many of Cape Town’s top professional musicians.
Marianne McLean (violin)
Marianne met her future husband (Alan) at UCT where she qualified with a B.MUS, TLD and LRSM in violin and singing. She completed a year of post-graduate studies at London’s Guildhall School of Music before returning to raise a family in Cape Town. Her musical pursuits have included teaching, performing as violinist and singer, orchestral playing with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, and chamber music with family and friends. She taught at Western Province Preparatory School for many years, inspiring countless young students with her passionate approach to ensemble work. Marianne has written many musical arrangements especially for the Winelands String Quartet. She plays a violin made by her father, Paul Martens.
Sandra Orchard (viola)
Sandra studied with Pierre De Groote at UCT, where she met Marianne, and later Alan, with whom she has had a long musical association. She qualified with an LRSM, LTCL and UTLM before embarking on a career in teaching, freelance orchestral playing and chamber music. She was a founder member of the Eastern Cape Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) under the direction of Rupert Mayr (Head of Music, Rhodes University). While spending two years in Malta, she played in the Malta Symphony Orchestra and ad hoc orchestral and chamber groups. She is a member of the Molino Ensemble, Fiddlers Two, and various other ensembles. She plays a viola and bow made by her husband, Bob.
Colleen Oxtoby (cello)
Colleen studied music at the University of Pretoria and the Orff Institute in Salzburg in preparation for a career in part-time teaching and freelance performing. In 2013 she graduated with an M.Mus (UCT). She is a pianist and cellist, and more recently discovered the allure of the viola da gamba and its repertoire. She briefly played cello in the former CAPAB orchestra, and nowadays performs – instrumentally and vocally – in the field of Early Music, a particular passion and interest of hers. This she shares with her husband, psychologist Richard Oxtoby, who in the 1960s established the Early Music group Musica Antiqua [Cape Town]. Colleen is a seasoned chamber music player and has enjoyed a musical collaboration with Alan, Marianne and Sandra for many years.
We are very privileged to play with Phil Ewens (viola) and Eddie McLean (cello) on an ad hoc basis. Phil is a highly experienced chamber music player and past member of the CTSO. Eddie is co-principal cellist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and performs extensively in and around Cape Town.
Our mission is to enhance your special occasion with beautiful music. In order to ensure that we meet with your satisfaction, we will liaise with you ahead of time, and tailor-make a musical selection of your choice. We will make every effort to accommodate special requests, provided that the music is suited to the string quartet genre and that we are notified well in advance. While we do not play with backing tracks or amplification, our sound carries surprisingly well indoors and outdoors, always retaining the unique timbre of the string quartet.