In the spring of 2021, a group of musicians from St. Olaf’s College will begin meeting weekly as a casual, fun, first-time ensemble. Within a year, they had competed and won a national competition.
The Hoyd Quartet was founded by violinists Grace Alexander (23) and Owen Cromwell (23), violinist Louis Douar (23) and cellist Henry Paton (22). In the last year they have appeared in his three national chamber music competitions, both the St. Paul String Quartet Competition and the Francis Walton His Competition organized by the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle.
Despite their busy music schedule, the four initially started the group as a way to have fun. However, after several months of playing together, they decided that their quartet was something they wanted to pursue more seriously. Named after the word to
“When we’re rehearsing, I’m working hard to finish the piece, but I’m enjoying it. It’s definitely work, but it’s work that’s motivating rather than exhausting. Me.” We became fast friends and developed a strong bond,” says Cromwell.
In December 2021, they decided to enter several national chamber music competitions, with the support of St. Olaf Music Faculty members Charles Gray and Ray Shaws. After just three months of preparation, with eight to fifteen hours of rehearsal a week, the group submitted their recordings, reached the finals of two competitions, and won the audience prize at the St. Paul String Quartet Competition in April 2022. and went to Seattle to perform. As the youngest and only string quartet of the three groups in the final of the Francis Walton Competition.
“This past year has been an eye-opening experience for us in the world of chamber music and the competition scene. It showed that we definitely had a spot and an opportunity when we played against two experts nearby,” says Cromwell.
Owen Cromwell ’23The past year has been an eye-opening experience for us in the world of chamber music and the competition scene. That she’s been a finalist in two of the three competitions she’s entered certainly confirms us, especially when she’s playing against a group of graduate students and her nearly 30-year-old against two pros. It showed that we had a spot and a chance.
Although they enjoy the technical challenges of 18th and 19th century music, quartets are often drawn to 20th century and contemporary music due to their wide variety of styles and sounds. They are currently working on works by Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and have so far performed music by Vera Bartok, Jesse Montgomery, John Adams, and Zhuhai.
All four members of the quartet have been involved in music at St. Olaf outside of chamber music. A double major in computer science and music, Cromwell is the student manager of St. Olaf’s orchestra. Alexander has his BM Violin His Performance Major, St. Olaf He is Vice President of the Orchestra, has worked with Music Admissions and Music Organizations, and is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Synergy Musicians’ Collective, Class of 2023. one of him. Representative of the music department student council. A music major, Dua is the president of Musika Nova and a member of the board of directors of Synergy Musicians’ Collective. Patton, who graduated in May 2022 in Economics with a focus on Race and Ethnic Studies, currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska. All four are members of the St. Olaf Orchestra.
Owen Cromwell ’23Yes, we make great music, but what makes it so much fun is making music with friends. Something really special happens when you have a small group of highly motivated musicians.
They hope to continue working together after graduation and are interested in joining the Pacific Northwest chamber music scene.
“In short, we all really enjoy being together,” says Cromwell. “Yes, we make great music, but what makes it so much fun is making music with friends. , when you have a small group of motivated musicians, something really special happens.”