Høyde Quartet formed around a year ago as an informal group of friends just looking to try out some new things. Each member would bring a new piece to play every week to just sight read and have fun, which they all agreed was a nice change of pace from the very structured major campus ensembles and orchestras. At the beginning of this fall
semester, the group began to talk about becoming a little more official and trying something new by applying for some national competitions. Over Interim, the group rehearsed intensely, and then sent video submissions to three different national competitions. They have now made it to the national round of the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition.
This is the first time a chamber group from St. Olaf has been selected to compete in a national competition like this. Many of the quartets they’re competing against are composed of full time conservatory students, and the Høyde Quartet will be the only all-undergraduate group. They admit that they’re at a bit of a disadvantage going against schools like The Juilliard School and The Curtis Institute of Music, but are choosing to see this as an experience to learn and grow.
“It’s pretty awesome just to even be able to hear those groups in person,” Grace Alexander ’23 said. “I’m probably most excited for that, just being able to go there and hear people that are super phenomenal musicians and get to compete on the same stage as them.”
When asked if St. Olaf hasn’t been able to provide this quartet some of the resources bigger schools might have the group pointed to one area in particular they feel is lacking. “The only resource that we haven’t had enough of is time,” Henry Paton ’22 said. While groups from bigger schools may rehearse up to six hours a day, the Høyde Quartet is only able to rehearse around an hour and a half every day during the normal semester. While they have stretched schedules, the group agrees that the faculty here has been helpful in guiding them through this process and encouraging them to continue as they faced some “imposter syndrome.” While St. Olaf is a smaller school, this group’s dedication and hard work has shone through and is allowing them to rise to a higher level of competition.
If you’d like to support this great quartet you can go to their national competition at Hamline University in Saint Paul on Saturday, April 23, or stream it live. The first round will take place at 10 a.m., and the second round is at 12 p.m.. You can also watch their quartet recital on Friday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the orchestra room.
Visit the podcast section of the Olaf Messenger’s website to learn more about the Høyde Quartet.