Whether you’re inspired by classical luxury or contemporary grooves, one thing’s for sure: the secret to a seamless wedding ceremony is having one ensemble that can handle it all, and handle it all with grace. No matter what type of music you ultimately choose for your walk down the aisle, rest assured that you’ve got the creative forces in your corner who are ready to make your entrance breathtakingly perfect.
It’s all about mood. So many different moods, and so many different choices. Our first priority, always, is to get to know you. Why? Because the better we know you, the better we’ll be able to create the perfect mood(s) for your celebration. The right music at exactly the right time makes a powerful statement. (Think goosebumps, misty eyes, smiles, and happy tears.) Watching your vision come to life is truly the best moment of our day.
Sure, you’re comparing prices on different ensembles because you have a budget – no shame in that. But there’s just one little problem: the cheaper options aren't really speaking to you. And while choosing an ensemble based on price isn’t a sin, it represents a restriction that you don't quite want to conform to on such a special day. Your wedding is reflective of your life ahead, and lucky for you, there are no hard and fast rules. This is your time to create that life, with relaxed confidence and no boundaries.
One of Chicago's most versatile and respected violinists, Artistrings leader and violinist Carol Kalvonjian has appeared with many pop, jazz, and touring acts such as Andrea Bocelli, Bernadette Peters, Earth Wind & Fire, Sarah McLachlan, Michael Buble, Dennis DeYoung, Sarah Brightman, The Three Tenors, The Three Irish Tenors, The Pointer Sisters, Celtic Woman, Leslie Uggams, Renee Olstead, Smokey Robinson, Michael Feinstein, Kurt Elling, Gregory Harrison, Nia Peeples, Anne Murray, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, The Moody Blues, ELO, Yes, and Bread. Televised appearances include Faith Hill, Il Divo, The Steve Harvey Show, Oprah, and A Christmas Carol: The Concert. She enjoys performing with Jim Gailloreto’s Jazz String Quintet and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra.
Katherine Hughes is a versatile musician who has appeared with many internationally known artists, and often performs on radio and television. She toured and recorded with Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, and additional CD credits include Rain, featuring her own original music, and The Four Seasons, a project she co-wrote and produced. Katherine also appears on the CD’s Jazz String Quintet and American Complex with James Gailloreto, and Together with George Flynn. With the jazz group Kevin Kizer Quintet, Katherine is featured on the CD Aspects. She has produced a rock video, TV Sages, which was shown on MTV. In the more traditional arena, Katherine is a regular member of the Metropolis Symphony and several chamber groups, including the HAWK String Quartet.
Violinist and conductor Mark Agnor has led and performed with more than 50 orchestras in 38 countries while on worldwide tours with pop opera group Il Divo and operatic tenor Paul Potts. He has also appeared across the U.S. as electric violin soloist with Mannheim Steamroller in its annual Christmas tours. Mark has had the pleasure of performing with artists including Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Led Zeppelin, Smokey Robinson, Yes, Earth Wind & Fire, Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, Peter Cetera, Dennis DeYoung, The Moody Blues, Don Henley, Burt Bacharach, Ron Isley, Doobie Brothers, Yanni, Linda Ronstadt, Dionne Warwick, The Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Three Irish Tenors, and Liz Carroll. He has made many TV appearances on The David Letterman Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and PBS Soundstage.
Carmen Llop Kassinger is one of the most popular violinists in Chicago. She plays with The Chicago Philharmonic, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Ars Viva, Chicago Sinfonietta, Lake Forest Symphony, and The Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. Carmen also works with chamber ensembles such as Fulcrum Point and the Callisto Ensemble. She has performed with many touring artists, from the Three Tenors to Led Zeppelin. No stranger to the Broadway in Chicago scene, she served as concertmaster for the world premiere of Mel Brooks’ The Producers as well as Elton John’s Aida.
Michele Lekas has performed with Canadian ensembles such as the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and Les Violons du Roy, and in Switzerland with the Camerata Lysy Gstaad. She is currently concertmaster of the Northwest Indiana Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and the New Philharmonic Orchestra, and and is a substitute musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has performed on WFMT Live from Studio One numerous times and has also appeared in recital over the CBC. Michele is a regular performer on Broadway in Chicago touring shows such as Wicked
Jeff Yang is the violin soloist and recorder player with Mannheim Steamroller and the violinist in the new music ensemble, Palomar. He has also served as first violinist in Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues, and conductor/concertmaster of the internationally celebrated group Il Divo. Well-versed in diverse genres of music, Jeff has performed on PBS's Soundstage with Jewel, Peter Cetera, Dennis DeYoung, Lyle Lovett, Ron Isley, Burt Bacharach, and on the Oprah show with Andrea Bocelli and Monica. A few of the many artists he has performed with include The Three Tenors, Kansas, Smokey Robinson, Bernadette Peters, Diana Krall, and David Foster.
Jeri-Lou Zike is a versatile, energetic musician who enjoys a variety of artistic activities in symphonic, baroque, and chamber music with 30 years of experience. She is principal and founding member of the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra and principal second violin of the Chicago Opera Theater. She is also a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, the Joffrey ballet orchestra and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra. Jeri-Lou is a lover of early music and is concertmaster of the Haymarket Opera Company as well as concertmaster of the University of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel Concerts and Holy Name Cathedral.
Violist Benton Wedge has appeared with popular favorites, including televised performances with Celine Dion and Enrique Iglesias, appearances on Oprah, as well as WTTW Soundstage shows with Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, Burt Bacharach, and Aaron Neville. He has recorded with Cheap Trick and Mannheim Steamroller, and has performed with popular acts such as Kansas, ELO, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, Il Divo, and Andrea Bocelli. Benton is the talent arranger behind the Artistrings pop string quartet.
Elizabeth Holzman Hagen enjoys an active performance career on both modern and Baroque violas. She is principal violist of Music of the Baroque, Baroque Band, the Haymarket Opera Company and the Callipygian Players. She is a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra and The Metropolis Symphony. Other appearances have been with Lyric Opera Chicago, The Rembrandt Chamber Players and The Newberry Consort. From 1995-2006, she was a member of the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire. Elizabeth is an active participant in Chicago’s freelance music scene.
Ray Ostwald, violin & viola, is a multi-talented instrumentalist, conductor, and arranger. He has appeared in concert with Barry Manilow, Anne Murray, Bob Hope, the Moody Blues, Celtic Woman, Bernadette Peters and Richard Marx. Ray is an educator in high demand, conducting throughout the Midwest and making guest appearances in Ecuador and at dozens of regional and festival orchestras. Under the unique hobby category, Ray has motorcycled in 49 states and six countries.
Richard Yeo served as Assistant Principal Cellist with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for ten seasons, and current performances include the Peninsula Music Festival, Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Lake Forest Symphony. In addition to appearances with numerous popular touring acts such as Ray Charles and Smokey Robinson, he has performed for Oprah Winfrey, John Malkovich, Paul Newman, Sarah Ferguson, Bill Curtis, Gregory Peck, and Jesse Jackson.
One of the most requested cellists in the Chicago area, Jill Kaeding is known for her versatility in all mediums of music. For over ten years, she enjoyed performing, touring worldwide and recording with Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues. An avid chamber musician, Jill is a member of Trio Élan. She also performs with the HAWK String Quartet and Jazz String Quintet – groups featuring a combination of string quartet and jazz saxophone. Jill has performed with many national artists including Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Depeche Mode, Garth Brooks, Poi Dog Pondering, Leslie Uggams, Josh Groban, Natalie Cole, the Electric Light Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, David Foster, Bonnie Kolac and Kurt Elling.
Mark Lekas enjoys an active musical life in Chicago as Principal Cello with the Indiana Symphony, a member of the Lake Forest Symphony, and the Grammy-nominated Nashville Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he is a regular substitute cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has performed many times on WFMT’s Live from Studio One series, and is an active studio cellist, recording for television and radio jingles. Mark stays extremely busy performing musicals for Broadway in Chicago, most recently as cellist for the show Wicked.
"Carol was a pleasure to work with and really understood what we were going for with our wedding. All of her musicians are professional, knowledgeable and I didn't have a thing to worry about -- I highly recommend them!"
"They customized everything to our liking and everything went flawlessly!"
"Thanks to a friend's recommendation, my wife and I booked Artistrings to play at our wedding reception. Working with Carol was a pleasure; she is obviously passionate about her art and was helpful in suggesting music."
"We hired Artistrings for our wedding reception because we didn’t want traditional music played by a string quartet. We met with Carol a few weeks prior to go over the contemporary music selections consisting of Carly Rae Jepsen, Lady Gaga, and other songs in their repertoire. They even arranged the Super Mario Bros and Zelda themes for us. Carol was very professional and gave a great suggestion to play while everyone was enjoying their meal. This added an entertaining touch to an already fun day. They started right on time, and did an excellent job of performing. Our guests commented on how much they loved the music."
"We are so glad we choose Artistrings to play during our ceremony. Always catered to our needs and specific requests. They even worked with my friend who was singing at the wedding to play with her perfectly. They made our ceremony a fairy tale!"
"They played a lovely mix of classical and contemporary music. I got Bach, The Beatles, and Black Eyed Peas! BEST value hands down. Save yourself the time of calling around and "shopping". Trust your event to Artistrings."
"Artistrings played for my daughter's Ceremony and Cocktail hour at The Art Institute of Chicago! My daughter and son-in-law have very diverse musical tastes. The String Quartet played every single musical selection they requested! Classical, Broadway, Tango, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Disney and Classic Vintage music from favorite movies!!! They set up in the balcony for selections before the ceremony and for the ceremony, pure magic! They are positively a "Must Have" for an unforgettable wedding!"
"I want to thank you for everything. Thank you for all your support and guidance. You are a true professional. It was a beautiful ceremony, and people have been giving me such wonderful comments on the music with my Disney theme. If it weren’t for your planning, it would not have been as wonderful as it was. I cried the entire time…"
"The sound of the strings filled me up with such beauty I cried before I walked down the aisle! I have always loved the sound of live strings, and I play cello myself, and they were absolutely perfect! I would absolutely highly recommend them."
"All we had to do was tell her what kind of music we were looking for, and she was quick to suggest some great music for us to have played at the ceremony. The ceremony turned out even more beautiful than we had hoped, and we owe a lot of it to Carol and Artistrings!"