OXUS is a string quartet with an eye for intriguing and unusual repertoire, performing music from all eras, but specialising in 20th-century and contemporary works. They have been playing together since 2006, and frequently perform with other artists and media in works such as Steve Reichʼs Different Trains with electronics, The Juliet Letters by Elvis Costello and The Brodsky Quartet, Arts Council funded collaborative projects with installation artist Pam Foley, with Moonrakers folk group, and even recording for a Japanese department store at Abbey Road Studios!


KATE, LOUISE, HEATHER and SPIKE are all established performers individually, with musical activities ranging from orchestral leading and continuo playing to baroque and jazz performances. 

TOGETHER they strive to find different ways to present a wide variety of music, stripping away some of the formality which chamber music performance is perceived to involve.


OXUS performs regularly in a variety of venues ranging from the Institute of Contemporary Art in London to the stables building of a pub in the Thame Arts and Literary Festival, SJE Arts, and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. 


Other regular activities include giving workshops, working with youth and amateur orchestras, and coaching. OXUS was the resident quartet for the Wycombe Abbey School's inaugrual Chamber Music Summer School.  


Spring 2023 concerts:


Sunday 5th February

OXUS as section principals at Cornerstone Theatre, 4pm with Didcot Concert Orchestra


Saturday 25th February

Concert with Lumina singers at St John's Boxmoor, 7.30pm: programme includes Duruflé Requiem and movements from Ravel String Quartet


Saturday 4th March

Roots and Offshoots OXUS programme, 7.30pm at Combe Community Hub: programme includes Mozart, Ravel and Caroline Shaw


Tuesday 28th March

Max Richter 'On the Nature of Daylight', Oxford Lent Concerts, 6.15pm in the chapel of The Queen's College, Oxford


Sunday 14th May

OXUS as section principals at Cornerstone Theatre, 4pm with Didcot Concert Orchestra


Sunday 21st May

The Cutting Garden OXUS programme, all-age concert 4pm at St Peter's Church, St Albans: Join OXUS for a wander around a musical garden, enjoying various types of Roses, as well as Violets and Chysanthemums, the Herbacous Border, the Orangery and the Beech Tree, and stand back to admire the Plan and Elevation of the garden design! A programme inspired entirely by music describing gardens and flowers!




"You four play suberbly and your programme, as always, was excellent. I enjoyed every piece and, like the people around me, know that we can count on OXUS for new repertoire as well as super playing."


"It was fantastic - what a talented quartet and a lovely varied yet intertwined programme with just the right level of introductory info. A pleasure to see you play again."





"I wished I had brought someone with me who had never experienced a classical string quartet to show them: this is what it is all about. The setting in the chapel, the intimacy of the circle of seats around the performers' space, the dramatic way you began with physical fugal entries, and sheer musicality and sense of sharing with each other and the audience would have converted anyone to classical music."






POSTCARDS FROM A STRING QUARTET was released in 2019. The inspiration for this CD came from a concert programme we prepared for the Oxford Festival of the Arts in 2016, the theme of which was International Connections. The album is a collection of snapshots from Argentina, Ukraine, Austria, Africa (via Germany), Russia, England, France and Denmark. We hope to travel further afield in the future… Email heather@heatherbirt.co.uk with CD purchase enquiries.


CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS have resulted in a wide variety of projects, including composition. Together with sound engineer Oli Whitworth, OXUS produced a new work entitled Routes of Sorrow to accompany an art exhibition of the same name, by Pam Foley. Recorded voice samples of the artist's daughter formed a basis for some of the work. A second phase involved reworking the score for live semi-improvised performance with dancers. These projects were funded by the Arts Council England. Listen to Routes of Sorrow.


DURING LOCKDOWN we have produced two recordings with Oli Whitworth of Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel, and a beautiful Melody by Ukranian composer, Myroslav Skoryk.







ENQUIRIES are very welcome for public concert series, private parties, and educational establishments for workshop concerts. Please email heather@heatherbirt.co.uk, or phone 07957 200482



"Saw an amazing performance of Steve Reich's Different Trains by 

OXUS at @ ICA London tonight. Terrific stuff."


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