Saint Paul String Quartet Competition

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
April 23, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — Five years ago, Artaria String Quartet violinist Ray Shows thought it might be a great idea to create a kind of showcase for advanced string quartets -- advanced in technique, but definitely not in years.

He set out to create a national competition for pre-college string quartets that would celebrate their playing as well as foster interest in chamber music in general.

In 2006, young quartets from all over the country competed in the very first St. Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC) and since then, the competition has garnered attention from the best string gurus in the field.

While the SPSQC holds its own against some of the most prestigious chamber music competitions, it's unique in that it is only open to string quartets -- so the comparison is always "apples to apples."

This past Saturday, seven quartets competed at Hamline University's Sundin Hall. Those included two from Chicago -- Emerald String Quartet and Quartet Danae; two from Worthington, Ohio -- Hubert Quartet and Arcobaleno; the Raie Quartet out of Madison, Wisconsin and two groups coached by Saint Paul's Artaria Quartet - Malik Sting Quartet and Jose.

Judges were the four members of the Cavani Quartet, rewarding the winning groups with scholarship prizes as well as a unique set of hand-crafted wooden stands.

The winners were the Emerald String Quartet with the Gold, Quartet Danae, Silver and the Hubert Quartet taking Bronze. The Malik String Quartet received the Audience Prize.

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