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About the SPSQC

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.

Founded in 2006 as a performance forum for outstanding young chamber musicians. Since then the SPSQC has garnered a national reputation for showcasing our nation's finest pre-college and college age string players. Young Artists from this event now populate the most prestigious conservatories and music programs in the country and several prizewinners are now members of internationally renowned chamber groups.

The SPSQC is open to aspiring non-professional string quartets whose members are 30 years of age or younger in two distinct age divisions - Junior and Senior. Applicant's recordings are reviewed and individually ranked by a selection jury of highly esteemed chamber music professionals from across the country. The top scoring quartets are invited to St. Paul to perform in the Final Round events in St. Paul, Minnesota, juried by renowned professional string quartets from the Schubert Club Music in the Park Series and MacPhail Center For Music.

The SPSQC Awards over $10,000 in prize money. In addition, the performers meet peers and future collaborators and garner a profound sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done (not to mention bragging rights for the next school year).

2023 Gold Medalists -
Poeisis Quartet (Oberlin)
Artistic Director Ray Shows

Ray Shows, Founder and Artistic Administrator

A founding member of the award-winning Artaria String Quartet, Colombian-American violinist Ray Shows has created a chamber music competition exclusively for string quartets. An arts entrepreneur with 36 years of professional 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.

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Patty Ryan

Back Stage Director

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Tommy Barbarella

Dir. Sundin Music Hall

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Nancy Oliveros


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Benny Moreno

Helios Photography

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Annalee Wolf

Stage Setup


Cecil Mummey



Becca Hall



Robbie Holzman


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