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Shows celebrates with Shostakovich

By Amy Lohmann '14
February 7, 2012

Instructor in Music Ray Shows is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ensemble, the Artaria String Quartet. Featuring violinist spouses Shows and Nancy Oliveros, violist Annalee Wolf '89, and cellist Laura Sewell, the quartet has set itself apart as a performing and teaching ensemble through the annual national competition for high-school age quartets that Artaria runs in addition to its performance schedule.

From left: Nancy Oliveros, Ray Shows, Laura Sewell, and Annalee Wolf '89.

The Twin Cities-based quartet recently launched a series of concerts (including at St. Olaf) that feature the work of Dmitri Shostakovich. The ensemble plans to perform all 15 of Shostakovich's string quartets in honor of the group’s 25th year. Hearing these performances, described by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as "emotionally taut and powerful," could prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, as Shostakovich's music is not widely performed. "I've never heard a live performance of half of these pieces that we’re playing," says Shows.

"All that we learned from our mentors in the Kollisch, Juilliard, and Budapest quartets is lost if we don't pass it on," Shows told the Pioneer Press. "We're just taking care of chamber music to pass it on to the next generation."

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or