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"Really, I can't envision a more inspiring and well-organized event."

-- SPSQC Parent

We loved being able to take part in something so special and uplifting to student musicians. 

I’m so glad SPSQC now has a senior division! If the first year in-person was such a success, I have no doubts it will become a staple in the competition world!

-- SPSQC Gold medalist

-- SPSQC prizewinner


2024 Compulsory Round composers announced.

Following the death of George Floyd in nearby Minneapolis, the Saint Paul String Quartet competition was the first national competition event to recognize the importance of including diversity in the musical education of our country's young and aspiring musicians. Each finalist will be required to perform the compulsory work assigned to their division.

Senior Division Finalists will be asked to perform Billy Childs: String Quartet #2 "Awakening" mvt.I - Wake-up Call.

Junior Division Finalists will be asked to perform C.T. Perkinson: String Quartet No.1 "Calvary" mvt.I - Allegro.

2023 SENIOR Poiesis.jpeg

Senior Division First Prize winning Poiesis Quartet won Gold medals, the Lift Every Voice Prize, AND the Grand Prize award at the 2023  Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They sent this note afterwards:

"Dear Mr. Shows, our quartet won Gold & Grand prizes [and the Lift Every Voice prize] at Fischoff this past weekend!!! A huge, huge, thank you to you and all the other organizers of the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition. Without our experience in St. Paul, we absolutely couldn't have done this. We really appreciate all that you have done!!"   ~ Poiesis Quartet

Our Junior Division Gold medalists - Pelios String Quartet - won the Silver prizes at this year' Fischoff Competition.

Congratulations to our SPSQC laureates....


ST. PAUL – MAY 23, 2023 

The 2023 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC) SENIOR DIVISION, the nation’s premiere event exclusively for college age string quartets, was held on Saturday, April 29 for an audience of over 725 viewers. 

Four excellent quartets were invited to compete in two final rounds: a BIPOC compulsory work, and a 30 minute group curated recital. 1st Prize and BIPOC/Female Composer round winners were the exciting POIESIS QUARTET from Oberlin Conservatory. Their Brahms quartet no.3 movements and complete C.T Perkinson Quartet no.1 performances were exemplary and the jury (Calidore String Quartet) was eager to award them top honors. The well prepared Turquoise Quartet from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings won the 2nd prize performing Caroline Shaw's Entr'acte and group selected movements from Mendelssohn's Op.80 quartet. The Audience Prize was captured by the fine performance of the Forst String Quartet from Northwestern University. The fine playing Lora Quartet from the SF Conservatory was the the other finalist quartet this year.



ST. PAUL – APRIL 25, 2023 

The 2023 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC) JUNIOR DIVISION, the nation’s premiere event exclusively for high school age string quartets, was held on Saturday, April 22. Six outstanding high school age quartets were selected to compete in two rounds of competition judged by the renowned Jasper Quartet. In this inaugural event excellence in preparation and performance were on display for a live and online audience of over 1300 viewers.


Gold medals and the Haydn Prize were awarded to the PELIOS STRING QUARTET from the Music Institute of Chicago. Silver medals and the BIPOC/Female Composer Prize went to the PONDROM STRING QUARTET from Wisconsin Youth Symphony. The CALCIFER STRING QUARTET from Music Institute of Chicago secured Bronze medals and an honorable mention for their Haydn performance. The Audience Prize went to the LA VIDA STRING QUARTET from Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras.


The jury for the 2023 SPSQC Final Round was the JASPER STRING QUARTET (J Freivogel, Karen Kim, Andrew Gonzalez, Rachel Henderson Freivogel). Selection judges were Andrew Jennings, violinist of the Concord Quartet; Mari Sato, violinist of the Cavani Quartet; John Largess, violist of the Miro Quartet; and Laura Sewell, cellist of the Lark and Artaria String Quartets.


The Saint Paul String Quartet competition was founded in 2006 by Artaria String Quartet violinist Ray Shows. The SPSQC has now presented 18 National Competitions. Created as a performance showcase for advanced quartet studies, this unique national event has received superlative acclaim by Strings magazine and recognition by Chamber Music America and many of the most renowned teachers in the country. The Saint Paul String Quartet Competition's primary mission is to celebrate excellence in string quartet performance, foster increased awareness and participation in the chamber music art form, and enhance chamber music culture and appreciation. Diversity and Inclusion are now at the forefront of our concerns, and we have created required competition rounds for Women composers and Composers of Color.

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2023 Senior Division Finalist Quartets
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Forst Quartet

Brian Zhan & Joel Kang, vlns 
Sanford Whatley, viola
Sarah Chong, cello


2023 SENIOR Poiesis.jpeg

Poiesis Quartet

Max Ball & Sarah Ma, violins

Jasper de Boor, viola 

Drew Dansby, cello


2023 SENIOR Lora.jpeg

Lora Quartet

Alyssa Tong & Matthew Vousé, violins

Hannah Wendorf, viola 

Elmer Carter III, cello


2023 SENIOR Turquoise.jpeg

Turquoise Quartet

Hayoung Choi & Katrina Stroud, violins

Carlos Walker, viola

Juliana Moroz, cello


2023 Junior Division Finalist Quartets
2023 Aurum.jpg

Aurum Quartet

John Lee & Vincenzo Zuppardo, violins 
Kay Ito, viola
Jocelyn Gao, cello


2023 La Vida.jpg

La Vida String Quartet

Jessica Zhu & Faith Zhang, violins

Anna Lee, viola 

Joseph Hsieh, cello


2023 Pelios.jpg

Pelios String Quartet

Ellen Zhou & Clark Snavely, violins 
Tristan Zhu, viola 
Amelia Zitoun, cello 


2023 Calcifer-3.jpg

Calcifer String Quartet

Zak Chen & Kana Aihara, violins

Leo Zupko, viola 

Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello


2023 NMS Quartet.png

NMS String Quartet

Ella Saputra & Chance Inouye, violins

Callia Murray, viola

William Tan, cello


2023 Pondrom.jpg

Pondrom String Quartet

Ava Kenney & Jane Story, violins

Sage Eckard-Lee, viola 

Katarina Kenney, cello


Saint Paul String Quartet Competition
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