The New Zealand String Quartet is returning to Whanganui at the end of July as part of its annual nationwide concert series.

The quartet gave a concert last year in Whanganui to raise funds for the refurbishment of the Sarjeant Gallery and it was such a success that they have decided to start their Heartland Classics tour in Whanganui.

For the first time in 21 years the quartet has a change of personnel: second violinist Douglas Beilman stepped down at the end of 2015, and has been replaced by young Australian violinist Monique Lapins.

The quartet's violist Gillian Ansell said they were looking forward to returning to Whanganui.

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"We played in the Pioneer Room last year as a fundraiser for the Sarjeant Gallery and really liked the light and airy ambiance of the space. The room was arranged in a way that allowed us to get really close to the audience, so that we could create the kind of intimate setting that's at the heart of chamber music."

The Whanganui concert will feature music by well-known Austrian composers Haydn and Schubert, the "American" quartet by 19th-century Czech composer Dvorak, and a short piece by Wellington-based composer Gareth Farr.

The Heartland Classics tour follows an international tour to the UK, US and Canada and will take them to 11 centres in New Zealand, from Waiheke Island to Invercargill, with performances in a mix of historic venues, museums and vineyards.

The New Zealand String Quartet will perform in the Pioneer Room of the Whanganui War Memorial Hall on July 31 at 3pm. Tickets are available through www.ticketek.co.nz or phone 0800 TICKETEK.