Artaria String Quartet
Photo: Vicki Blazing
A warm, rich sound is the hallmark of the Artaria String Quartet. Named after the Italian publishers of the first issues of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven quartets, Artaria’s refined and thoughtful playing has brought them critical acclaim in Europe and throughout the United States. The Boston Globe describes Artaria as “exquisitely balanced and sonorous” and that “their musical understanding was first-rate”.
Formed in Boston in 1986, Artaria was mentored by members of the Budapest, La Salle, Kolisch, Juilliard, and Cleveland Quartets, serving as artists-in-residence at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute, performing at Festival de L’Epau in France, and at the final rounds of the 1992 Banff International String Quartet Competition. They have made numerous appearances on television and live radio, and have performed at major venues throughout the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Cleveland and Boston. In 2001, Artaria became Minnesota's quartet-in-residence, winning the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for performing musicians, serving as MPR's artists-in-residence, and being featured as Minnesota originals on Twin Cities Public Television MN-Original series.
Artaria is recognized nationally for their passionate teaching style and for their commitment to preparing a new generation of chamber musicians. Recipients of the inaugural Rural Residency Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Quartet has been awarded Teaching Artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Midori's Partners in Performance, and the Heartland Fund for performance and educational outreach. They possess an exceptional ability to offer exciting performances and innovative programs to audiences of all ages.
Members of the Artaria String Quartet are founders and directors of the Artaria Chamber Music School in Saint Paul, MN a year-round chamber music coaching program for advanced string players, and the Stringwood Chamber Music Festival. They also present the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, an annual national event that showcases America’s finest high school string quartets in the country.
Firmly rooted in the great traditions of the chamber music masterpieces, the Artaria String Quartet is a staunch advocate of contemporary music, premiering a wide array of new works and numerous commissions. The quartet’s performances are recorded on Centaur Records and Aequebis Recordings.
RAY SHOWS - VIOLINIST
Colombian-American Violinist RAY SHOWS is a complete musician with three decades of performances as 1st violin of the acclaimed Artaria String Quartet and as a solo recitalist. His sound "a wail of individuality" Ray has performed in major concert halls in New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis across the U.S. and in Europe. Winner of a prestigious McKnight Performing Artist Fellowship, Ray is a highly regarded chamber musician who has collaborated with renowned artists Arnold Steinhardt (Guarneri Quartet), Eugene Drucker (Emerson Quartet), Paul Katz (Cleveland Quartet), and Raphael Hillyer (Juilliard Quartet) and has appeared on national television and radio broadcasts in both the U.S. and Canada. Ray 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. A Teaching-Artist in Residence at the Tanglewood Institute, Ray has held positions at Boston College, Viterbo University, Florida State University and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory. Named MNSOTA Music Studio teacher of the year in 2010 his students are concerto soloists, scholarship recipients at renowned American music schools, are prizewinners at national competitions, and have appeared on National Public Radio’s From the Top. Shows received the coveted Director's Award and graduated with distinction from Boston University and Florida State University in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Carl Flesch protégé Roman Totenberg and Galamian assistant Gerardo Ribeiro. Chamber Music studies were mentored by Eugene Lehner of the legendary Kolisch Quartet and by members of the Budapest, Juilliard, Emerson, Cleveland, LaSalle, Muir, and Colorado Quartets. Shows is a member of the faculty of St. Olaf College where he teaches violin, viola and chamber music. He is founding 1st violinist of the Artaria String Quartet and Artistic Administrator of Stringwood and the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition. Ray performs on a rare violin by Andrea Castagneri and a bow by Pierre Simon.
NANCY OLIVEROS - VIOLINIST
A founding member of the critically acclaimed Artaria String Quartet, named a 2014 Minnesota Original, and a 2004 McKnight Fellow, violinist NANCY OLIVEROS has performed at renowned venues in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, and throughout the United States and Europe. She is a multi-year recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the Minnesota State Arts Board for performance and educational outreach projects. She performs with members of the Juilliard, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, Pacifica, Concord, and Cleveland Quartets. Co-founder of the Stringwood Summer Chamber Music Festival in Lanesboro, MN and the Artaria Chamber Music School in St. Paul, she was Artist/Teacher in Residence for three summers at the world-renowned Tanglewood Institute under the mentorship of Norman Fischer. With the ASQ, she competed at the finals of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and was a protégé of Walter Levine at ProQuartet and the L'Epau Festival in France. She was a fellowship student at Aspen, Kneisel Hall, and the Florida Festival and was a graduate teaching assistant and concertmaster at The Florida State University and Boston University while studying violin and chamber music with Roman Totenberg, Eugene Lehner, Raphael Hillyer, and the Muir Quartet. Further studies in Chamber Music were closely mentored by members of the Budapest, Emerson, and Cleveland Quartets. Nancy's principal violin teachers were Roman Totenberg, Gerardo Ribeiro, and Karen Clarke. Her students are national prizewinners and can be found in professional posts around the world. Ms. Oliveros and pianist Mary Ellen Haupert's critically acclaimed recordings of the chamber music of Louise Farrenc are found on the Naxos label. She is delighted to own and perform on a rare 1781 Neopolitan violin by Tomaso Eberle.
ANNALEE WOLF - VIOLIST
A native of Minnesota, Violist ANNALEE WOLF received her undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College. After completing her Master of Music degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she earned a Premier Prix in viola performance from the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, and subsequently studied chamber music and the humanities at the European Mozart Academy. She has performed with the North Carolina, Greensboro, Charleston, and Savannah Symphonies, as well as the European Philharmonic Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Annalee has participated in numerous national and international festivals, including the Quartet Program, the Winter Institute for String Quartets, the Kneisel Hall, Hampden-Sydney, Brandeis, Domaine Forget (Quebec) festivals, and the Cours International de Musique in Morges, Switzerland. She has frequently performed as guest artist with the West End Chamber Ensemble and the Ciompi String Quartet, and in 1995 appeared as soloist at the Eduard Tubin Music Festival in Tallinn, Estonia. Other European appearances have included concerts in Rome, Warsaw, Brussels, Budapest, Prague, Bulgaria, Croatia, and a performance for the president of Romania at his palace in Bucharest. Annalee has taught viola and chamber music at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, and the MacPhail Center for Music. She has been a student of Andrea Een, Roland Vamos, Toby Appel, and Ervin Schiffer, and has studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Takacs, Mendelssohn, Lydian, and Haydn String Quartets.
PATRICIA RYAN - CELLIST
Artaria cellist Patricia Ryan has performed with some of the world's leading chamber musicians including pianist Emanuel Ax, the Pacifica String Quartet, violinists Geoff Nuttall, Ian Swensen, Axel Strauss, Wei He, Bettina Mussumeli, violists John Largess, Ivo-Jan van der Werff, Jodi Levitz, Paul Hersh, Steve Dann, Max Mandel, and cellists Norman Fischer and Jean-Michel Fonteneau. Ms. Ryan is a core member of the Houston-based conductorless ensemble KINETIC, which is beginning its sixth season for the 2020-2021 season. Equally passionate about advocating for contemporary music, Patricia is also a member of the Twin Cities based group 10th Wave Chamber Collective. Patricia is the newest member of the Delphia Cello Quartet and some of her cello quartet arrangements are featured with the ensemble. She also is the host of the podcast Haydn Behind the Music Stand, where she interviews weekly guests about their musical journey and an outside interest that inspires their musicianship. Patricia is a three-time alumna of the Tanglewood Music Center and a three-time orchestral participant in the Spoleto USA Festival Orchestra and a chamber fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival where she worked with members of the Artis String Quartet, Alexander String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, and Brentano String Quartet, as well as resident Yale School of Music faculty. She has also participated in the Chamber Music Program at Domaine Forget and Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado as the member of the Young Artist in Residence string quartet with her previous group, The Kamila Quartet. Ms. Ryan completed a second Masters of Music at Rice University Shepherd School of Music on full tuition scholarship under the tutelage of Norman Fischer, an Artist Certificate in Chamber Music Performance and a Masters of Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Jean-Michel Fonteneau, and a Bachelors of Music at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music with Tchaikovsky Competition laureate Nathaniel Rosen and Alexander Sulieman on full scholarship. She is currently performing on a 1977 Gio Batta Morassi cello and a 1988 Roger Zabinski bow previously owned by Robert Jamieson of the Minnesota Orchestra.
“The faculty insights about music and playing were mind-blowing. I really enjoyed all of the master classes.”
“Coming home from the Artaría concert... everyone was super excited and talking about the concert, and I realized, everyone is like me and cares about the music and finds it really fun.”
Violinist Matt Lammers is a doctoral student of Paul Kantor and member of the preparatory faculty at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. His prior teachers include Christian Teal, Carolyn Huebl, and Ray Shows, and he holds degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and Rice (M.M.). Matt has had the fortune of performing chamber music in concert with the Blair Quartet, Geoff Nuttall, Jun Iwasaki, Jinjoo Cho, Matt Albert, Roger Fretena, John Kochanowski, and members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Last summer he joined the Cezanne Quartet, Quartet in Residence of Southern Methodist University, as first violinist for its teaching and performance residency at Music in the Mountains in Durango, CO. He is a founding member of the Austin Camerata chamber music festival and spent the last year as a featured Young Artist of the Da Camera Chamber Music Society of Houston. He is also a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra. At Vanderbilt Matt was honored with the David Rabin Prize following his performance of the Beethoven Concerto with the BLAIR Ensemble and shortly thereafter completed a recording project in collaboration with violin maker Keith Hill, in which he recorded thirteen showpieces on thirteen of Hill’s violins. He has recently undertaken a new recording project for the Naxos Label: the Sonatas of Brahms with pianist Marianne Ploger. An advocate of innovative new music, he gave the premieres of Jack Coen’s Hyperthymesia for violin and electronics and Michael Alec Rose’s Three Interventions for walking string quartet, and he is producer for the April 2019 premieres of Rose’s chamber opera Lolly Willowes.
Violinist Hannah Kennedy, a native of Minnesota, is a committed collaborator and recitalist known for her creativity and thoughtful interpretations. She is active in the Early Music community and is a supporter of historically-informed performances. Hannah is dedicated to broadening typical notions of programming and strives to highlight connections between all eras, styles, and composers, especially those who have historically been under-programmed. Hannah obtained her Bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire where she attended as an Eileen Phillips Cohen string quartet fellow, a full-tuition award that involved formal concert presentations, intensive coachings, and community outreach. She went on to receive her Master’s degree at CU Boulder, studying with Harumi Rhodes. Hannah is currently continuing her studies with Ms. Rhodes while pursuing an Artist Diploma in solo violin. She was awarded first prize in the 2020 Ekstrand Graduate Student Competition and presented J.S. Bach's Chaconne as an Ekstrand semi-finalist in 2019. Recently, Hannah studied as a fellow at Madeline Island Chamber Music's 2019 summer program. The festival culminated with a collaborative chamber recital, giving Hannah the chance to perform alongside cellist Andrés Díaz. She also worked with members of the Arianna, American, Dover, and St. Lawrence String Quartets, and enjoyed preparing a variety of outreach programs with her quartet colleagues. Hannah has performed in masterclasses with members of the Tákacs, Enso, Pacifica, Juilliard, Jupiter, and Pro Arte String Quartets. She also served as one of the violinists of the Altius Quartet for the 2020-2021 season. In her free time, Hannah enjoys all things outdoors, especially when it includes spending time with family and friends. Hannah performs on a family instrument, an unlabeled Bohemian violin from the mid-1700s that her great-great-grandfather brought to the US in 1912.
A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, violist Alexandra Sophocleus earned a degree in performance as a student of artist-teacher Peter Slowik. At Oberlin, Alexandra was closely mentored in chamber music by members of the Cavani Quartet, Merry Peckham and Kirsten Docter, and participated in masterclasses presented by the Dover, Enso, and Calder String Quartets. She attended the Madeline Island Chamber Music Festival, Stringwood for five summers, and the National Orchestral Institute and Festival where she served as principal viola, taking part in several recordings on the Naxos record label with the National Orchestral Institute and Oberlin Orchestra. Most recently, Alexandra recorded as a member of the Oberlin Sinfonietta in Songtree, an album featuring the works of Guggenheim Fellow, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. Currently, Alexandra resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she is a member of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and also performs chamber music with other recent conservatory graduates. Alexandra had the privilege of performing as violist with the Artaria String Quartet in July of 2018, performing the Schulhoff Concerto for String Quartet and Winds with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra in Duluth MN on twenty-four hours notice. She is excited to make her return to Stringwood as a member of the assistant faculty, and to begin coursework in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Minnesota in September of 2019. In her spare time, Alexandra enjoys reading, acting in musical theater, and participating in trivia nights with her friends.
Cellist Lucas Button has appeared as soloist with the Syracuse, Catskill, and Schenectady Symphonies and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. He performs a broad variety of chamber music, including recent performances with Society for New Music in Syracuse, Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet with the JACK Quartet, and a Nico Muhly premiere at Tanglewood. As an orchestral musician he has performed with Symphoria as a core member, the New World Symphony, and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. He joined The Orchestra Now at Bard College in fall 2018. Lucas is passionate about extending music beyond the typical concert hall setting, actively participating in Groupmuse, a social network that turns homes, local businesses, and other spaces into intimate settings for chamber music performance. In fall 2018 he launched the Syracuse chapter of “If Music Be the Food,” a benefit concert series dedicated to raising awareness and support for the hungry in local communities across the U.S. As a teacher, Lucas has been on the faculty at Eastman Community Music School and coached chamber music at Interlochen Arts Camp. Lucas earned his Master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, Bachelor’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy. Lucas received the Samuel Hayes Memorial Cello Award from the Tanglewood Music Center and the Celentano Award for Excellence in Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music. Lucas’s cello mentors include Steven Doane, Rosemary Elliott, Norman Fischer, and Crispin Campbell and he has studied chamber music with members of the Concord, Chiara, Juilliard, and Ying quartets. Apart from music, Lucas loves to explore the outdoors and enjoys roasting, brewing, and drinking various coffees.