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 made his solo debut with orchestra in his native Atlanta. As a founding member of the Artaria String Quartet, 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 concertized with many renowned artists including 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. He served as Principal Second Violin of the Portland Symphony for eight years and was also invited to be a concerto soloist. Other orchestral performance engagements include first violin seating with the Boston Ballet, Boston Pops Esplanade, the Boston Opera Company, Concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra, and most recently concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Ray is passionate about 20th century music and has performed and recorded music of today's leading composers, including Gunther Schuller, Augusta Read Thomas, Marjorie Merryman and Thomas Oboe Lee, commissioning solo and chamber works for his own New Music Festivals. 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. He was named MNSOTA Music Studio teacher of the year in 2010 and his students have soloed with major youth symphonies, received generous scholarship awards 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 with his Master's Degree in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Carl Flesch protege Roman Totenberg. His Bachelor's degree (Magna Cum Laude) was received from Florida State University where he was a Brautlecht Scholar and student of 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 co-directs the Artaria Chamber Music School in St. Paul and the Stringwood Chamber Music Festival with his wife Nancy Oliveros. He is also founder of the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, a unique high school string quartet showcase now in its 12th year. Ray performs on a rare violin by Andrea Castagneri and a violin bow by Pierre Simon.