left to right:  Julia Sakharova, Kurt Baldwin, John McGrosso, Joanna Mendoza

The University of Missouri-St. Louis Department of Music is extremely proud and fortunate to have the Arianna Quartet, a world-renowned professional string quartet, on our permanent faculty. UMSL is the only university in the state of Missouri with a first-class professional string quartet in residence. The quartet maintains an extremely busy schedule, performing and teaching both in this country and abroad. In addition, all four members serve as a full-time faculty professors of their respective instruments.

Hailed for their outstanding musicianship, the Arianna String Quartet has firmly established itself as one of America's finest chamber ensembles. Their performances have been praised for “tonal warmth, fastidious balance…expressive vitality” (Chicago Tribune) and “emotional commitment and fluent virtuosity,” (Pretoria News, South Africa). Formed in 1992, the ASQ garnered national attention by winning the Grand Prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, First Prize in both the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music Competitions, and were Laureates in the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition.

The Arianna Quartet has appeared throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and in South Africa. They have collaborated with many of the world’s finest musicians, including members of the Vermeer, Tokyo, Cleveland and Juilliard Quartets, and their live performances have been heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and “Live from Music Mountain,” which broadcasts to 125 stations in the U.S. and to 35 countries. The ASQ has recorded for Albany Records and Urtext Digital Classics, and has a long-term contract with Centaur Records.  In addition to their critically acclaimed recording of the two string quartets of Janácek, the ASQ has also recently released recordings of Beethoven’s Early and Middle Quartets.



“These performances of the Arianna String Quartet demonstrate how technical excellence, in alliance with imagination and the human heart, can come to create something truly transcendent.” – Fanfare Magazine



“I can’t stop listening to these performances.  They thrill me, enthrall me, and arouse emotional responses in me of an intensity that can’t be described. I am prepared to state and defend my belief that these may just be the greatest performances of Beethoven’s middle quartets in recorded history.”

Fanfare Magazine


Since 2000, the members of the Arianna String Quartet have been the full-time string faculty at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, where they teach applied violin, viola, and cello, and coach student chamber music ensembles. On the UMSL campus, the Arianna Quartet enriches the academic experience of students outside of the Music Department by visiting classes in physics, business, history, philosophy, art, and language to actively demonstrate the interdisciplinary connections between music and these seemingly disparate disciplines. In the community, the ASQ are ambassadors for UMSL, teaching an average of 40 instructional clinics each year at high schools throughout Missouri and surrounding states, presenting a performance and lecture series at KWMU called “First Mondays with the ASQ,” and maintaining a national and international presence as educators and performers.


Teaching Mission

The Arianna String Quartet is dedicated to the musical development of their students. The size of our program allows for ample personalized instruction and a dynamic, supportive community. Private lessons, chamber music, orchestra, and studio classes are available to all violinists, violists, and cellists at the university. The varied teaching styles of each member of the quartet allows for an expansive approach to the string program as every student works with each member of the quartet in some way.  

Educational Outreach

The Arianna String Quartet's outreach programs encompass a wide variety of subjects. Topics include interdisciplinary programs linking music with traditional academic areas of study, as well as ideas helpful to appreciating or performing classical music.

The universality of music can be shown through links to social studies, history, mathematics, science, languages, creativity, and teamwork. By pulling apart the tapestry of a musical composition and analyzing the various musical, historical, and creative elements, the ASQ is able to give students insights into a more effective use of their own creative and analytical resources. These presentations are effective for all age levels, and the quartet shapes each presentation to suit the needs of the teacher, curriculum, or audience. The ASQ has implemented its unique interdisciplinary curriculum at every academic level, from kindergarten through high school, as well as at the collegiate level. 

The Arianna String Quartet's presentations to young musicians help students achieve a higher standard immediately by demonstrating the value of using their imaginations more creatively and effectively. We also show how relating the music they are playing to their other studies and their life experience will achieve a more meaningful performance.

For More Information...
Arianna Quartet Website