The Artaria String Quartet first established in Boston Massachusetts and currently resides in Minnesota. The quarter was formed by Ray Shows, Nancy Oliveros, Annalee Wolf, and Patricia Ryan. The group currently has a residence at Sundin Music Hall on the campus of Hamline University and previously held a residence at Viterbo University and Boston College.
Artaria Quartet has been described as an exceptional ensemble with impressive confidence in its interpretations as well as Minnesota’s foremost teaching and performing string quartet. Recently the ensemble has celebrated 30 years of chamber music performances. With that comes numerous opportunities to travel and awards earned. The group has traveled to Europe, most notably France, Canada, and all over the United States. Their playing has awarded them with the National Endowment for the Arts award as well as the Minnesota State Arts Board for excellence in performance and educational outreach.
Artaria won the Minnesota State Arts Board for excellence through their music school called the Artaria Chamber Music School or ACMS for short. The school is a premier weekly string chamber music program based in Saint Paul that features the Artaria String Quartet and renowned guest artists. Every April, the school competes in the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, which showcases the nation’s top high school-age string quartets. Artaria believes in the power of music and the importance of music education so it has dedicated the school to provide students with a musical mentor that allows them to share, create community, make friends, and make something happen all through the power of music.
Violinist, Ray Shows is passionate about 20th-century music and has recorded music of today’s leading composers, including Gunther Schuller, Augusta Read Thomas, Marjorie Merryman, and Thomas Oboe Lee. In 2010, Ray was named MNSOTA Studio Teacher of the year. His students are concerto soloists, scholarship recipients at renowned American music schools, are prizewinners at national competitions, and have appeared on National Public Radio From the Top. Shows also received the coveted Director’s Award and graduated with distinction from Boston University and Florida State University in Violin Performance.
Nancy Oliveros is also a violin player. Nancy was a fellowship student at Aspen, Kneisel Hall, and the Florida Festival and was a graduate teaching assistant at The Florida State University and Boston University studying violin and chamber music. Nancy is a founding member of the ASQ and a 2004 McKnight Fellow.
Annalee Wolf is the viola player for ASQ and she has received her undergraduate degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Wolf has earned a Premier Prix in viola performance from the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, and subsequently studied chamber music and the humanities at eh European Mozart Academy. Her talents have allowed her to play in places in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. as both a guest solo artist and as part of an ensemble.
Patricia Ryan is the cello player for ASQ. Patricia has completed her second Masters of Music at Rice University Shepherd School of music on a full-tuition scholarship. Patricia has participated and received the top prize in the Plowman, Coleman, and Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions and has [performed internationally in Portugal and China as part of the Viana de Castello International Music Festival and the San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival.
As a group, ASQ has stated that Artaria is a conversation among equals, each voice is heard and respected and the remarkable music we are privileged to study and perform guides us through the greatest thoughts and emotions humanity can express.
“Our greatest joy as curators of the great medium of string playing has been to see students in our coaching programs grow into the awareness that they are part of something greater than themselves.”
“Our next challenge is presenting the cycle of string quartets of Beethoven. We feel honored to have this opportunity and are delighted to share our love of chamber music with the people of Minnesota and beyond.”
The Artaria String Quartet will perform on March 15 at 2 p.m. in the Narthex of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Waverly, IA.