About the SPSQC

Founded in 2006 as a performance forum for outstanding high school chamber musicians, the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition's primary mission is to celebrate excellence in string quartet playing, foster an increased appreciation for the chamber music art form, and enhance the music culture in this country. The SPSQC has garnered a national reputation for showcasing our nation's finest pre-college string players and young artists from this event now populate the most prestigious conservatories and music programs in the country.

The competition is open to quartets whose members are 19 years or younger. Unidentified copies of quartets’ audition recordings are reviewed and individually ranked by a preliminary jury of three from across the country. The top scoring quartets are invited to St. Paul to perform in the Final Round event, juried by a renowned professional string quartet. Both the preliminary and final juries consist of members of renowned quartets including the Arianna, Chiara, Cleveland,  Concord, Daedalus, Jupiter, Maia, Miami, Miro, Pacifica, Rackham, Takacs and former members of the Artaria String Quartet.

The SPSQC Awards include $3,000 in prize money, and Henle Urtext scores and parts for the winners. More important, the performers take away a profound sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done (not to mention bragging rights for the next school year).

Ray Shows, Artistic & Administrative Director

A founding member of the award-winning Artaria String Quartet, Colombian-American violinist Ray Shows created a chamber music competition exclusively for string quartets. An arts entrepreneur and 30 year veteran of string quartet performing and teaching, Shows has a deep passion for mentoring young musicians and a great love of chamber music. String quartet playing represents one of the noblest forms of musical, intimate, and collegial expression and Ray believes the study and performance of this music can produce the best in human expression. Like good food for the body, music well played is food for the soul.