Gus McQuade & Eleanor Grant
Eleanor and Gus formed their duo two years ago as second year undergraduates at the Royal Academy of Music. While working together, they became aware of a mutual passion for exploring multiple genres, from the Renaissance period to the present day, embracing folk and jazz influences.
Eleanor and Gus have written many arrangements for their own special and unusual combination of instruments (guitar, double bass and voice). Their first performance together was at the Royal Academy of Music in an Autumn Guitar Chamber Concert. They presented songs by Dowland, and Eleanor’s arrangement of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm which was very well received, encouraging them to pursue their ideas further. Eleanor and Gus now have a number of festival performances lined up for 2023 and are excited to explore Commonwealth and British music further as New Elizabethan Award holders. They will make their debut at the Wigmore Hall in February 2023.
Classical guitarist, Gus McQuade, was born and educated in Leamington Spa. He recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, London, with First Class Honours (BMus) and will continue to study there under Professor Michael Lewin on the Masters course funded by a number of scholarships, including a Help Musicians Postgraduate Award and the Drake Calleja Trust. Recent awards include the Timothy Gibson and Blyth Watson Prizes (2022), and runner-up in both the Leicester Music Competition (2022) and the Royal Classics Guitar Concerto Prize (2020).
Gus has performed in masterclasses with some of the world’s leading guitarists, including David Russell, Fabio Zanon, Roberto Aussel and Xeufei Yang and has regularly featured in the Royal Academy of Music’s concert series. Notable performances include Lorenzo Palomo’s Madrigal y Cinco Canciones Serfadíes (UK premiere) and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Repentance for three guitars, cello and bass. Gus is passionate about expanding the guitar repertoire and is a keen arranger, writing for both guitar chamber ensemble and solo guitar.
Eleanor is an accomplished singer, actress, double bass player and bass guitarist, holding versatility at the core of her identity. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music (double bass scholar) and recently graduated with First Class Honours (BMus). She has played under the baton of several eminent conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Sakari Oramo, Sir Mark Elder and Edward Gardner. She has played with the Echo Ensemble and with the Orion Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall. Theatre productions include Cy Coleman’s City of Angels and Sondheim’s Merrily we roll along (for RAM), Sondheim’s Into the Woods (for RADA) and Anyone can Whistle (Southwark Playhouse 2022), and Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years (Minack Theatre, Cornwall).
As a child Eleanor starred in the film Nativity 2! and regularly sang at Abbey Road Studios, recording vocal solos for composers Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, John Debney, Patrick Doyle, and Alan Menken. Recent film soundtracks include Eurovision Song contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Cinderella, Cruella, Puss in Boots and Disney’s live-action remakes of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
In 2018 Eleanor was the vocal soloist in a film showing of The English Patient (Avex Classics) with live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall (with the RPCO). She performed the same concert in China (Shanghai Symphony Orchestra) and in Luxembourg (Orchestre Philharmonie). She travelled to France (2019) to be the featured soloist in Titanic Live. Eleanor was honoured to be invited by Gabriel Yared to be his soprano soloist in a televised gala concert ‘Hollywood in Vienna’. Yared was presented with the 2019 Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award at the concert held at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Austria, and presented by the city annually to a world-renowned film composer. Eleanor will return to Vienna to sing in the 2022 concert (honouring Alan Menken, recipient of the 2022 Award). Eleanor made her solo debut with the BBC Concert orchestra in 2019, recording The Way of Light by Nigel Hess, available on iTunes, Apple Music and multiple streaming platforms. She performed the same piece at the UK International Composers Festival in May 2022 as well as Clive Whitburn’s Remember Me. Eleanor is a keen songwriter and is currently working on her own album.
Page updated: September 2022
Award: New Elizabethan Award 2022