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

Scott Linder, SPSQC Parent

2021 Prizewinners


Contact: Ray Shows, Artistic Administrator

Saint Paul String Quartet Competition

651-587-7595   ray@artaria.us

16th Annual Event A family Affair

ST. PAUL – APRIL 25, 2021

The 2021 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC), the nation’s premiere event for high school string quartets, was held virtually on Saturday April 24. From a pool of applicants from coast to coast, six outstanding high school quartets were selected to compete in three rounds of competition judged by the renowned St Lawrence String Quartet. Once again, preparation and performance level were exemplary; each ensemble presented a unique voice to the online audience (currently 918 views). 441 votes were cast for the audience prize. Chamber music is in good hands for the future.


This year’s Gold Medalist ensemble was the STARS ALIGNED SIBLINGS from the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory school. Their opening movement of Florence Price’s Quartet No.2 was beautifully played and their rendition of the opening movement of the Brahms Quartet in C minor was stunning. They also received this year’s Haydn Prize and the newly created BIPOC prize. Coached by Akye Agus, they performed all their music selections from memory.


Dajj Quartet from Chamber Music Connection in Columbus Ohio won the Silver medals with a strong performance of first movement of the Mendelssohn Op. 13 and a fine reading of Daniel B. Roumain’s Quartet No. 5 “Parks”. Omaggio Quartet from the Academy of Music in Chicago took the Bronze medals with a terrific performance of Debussy String Quartet (mvt 1) and a strong playing of Prokofiev Quartet No.2 (mvt 1). The Omaggio also received Honorable mention in both the Haydn Round and BIPOC round and they won the Audience Prize.


The jury for the 2021 SPSQC Final Round was the St Lawrence String Quartet. Selection judges were Nicholas Kitchen, violinist of the Borromeo String Quartet; Charles Wetherbee, violinist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet; Geri Walther, violist of the Takacs Quartet; and Laura Thielke, cellist of the Artaria Quartet of Boston.


The Saint Paul String Quartet competition was founded in 2006 by Artaria String Quartet violinist Ray Shows. Mr. Shows is the Artistic Administrator of this annual event. The SPSQC has now presented 16 National Competitions – the last 2 virtual. 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. Its stated aim is to “celebrate excellence in string quartet playing (and) foster an increased appreciation for the chamber music art form and enhance the music culture in this country.”


The Saint Paul String Quartet Competition is open to high school string quartets from around the country and is always adjudicated by a professional string quartet.

Watch the event >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UohaP0r50c4&t=32s

Support the 2021 Event

Suggested donation $20

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Pay with VENMO @Ray-Shows

2021 Finalist Quartets
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Ardente String Quartet

Ella Saputra & Ruth Kim, violins

Julie Kim, viola  Haoming Song, cello


Carmen Quartet

Veronica Rokicki & Katharine Nelson, vlns

Kimberly LaFranzo, viola 

Ethan Raviv, cello


Omaggio String Quartet

Abigail Park & Tara Hagle, violins

Elinor Detmer, viola 

Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello

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Amati Quartet

Ava Andrews & Bradley Smith, violins

Jay Lipsutz, viola 

Natalie Van Winkle, cello


Dajj Quartet

Anna Linder & Mathias Koo, violins

Victoria Phillips, viola

Kate Fornshell, cello

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Stars Aligned

Dustin Breshears & Valerie Breshears, vlns

Colin Breshears, viola 

Starla Breshears, cello

Saint Paul String Quartet Competition