The Salt Lake String Quartet formed in 2017 with the intent to perform rock favorites and pop hits as well as classical repertoire. The dream-child of several music school graduates and close friends, they sought a way to create a space in which they could continue to hone their craft as well as to perform the music that they loved. With several composition majors on board, imaginative arrangements and contemporary string styles merge to create something new on a traditional theme. This group has spent the last few years flying in helicopters, traveling the midwest, performing at hundreds of weddings, festivals and private events, all while continuing to expand their reach and love for music.

Created and managed by cellist, Kaitlin Findlay, they grew to eight core members in 2018. The vision was to create a group unlike any other. Breadth of repertoire combined with experienced performers, advanced music technology and a killer visual aesthetic are the individual components that come together to form the ultimate strings package. The Salt Lake String Quartet rehearses weekly to make sure that they are offering the best musical product available. Every performer is auditioned and screened and there is a very low turn-over rate due to the camaraderie and fun dynamic of the group. Every player uses an iPad and all their music is digital allowing them to have a limitless library at their fingertips as well as be impervious to any wind or lighting challenges. And lastly, this group prides themselves on their professionalism in appearance. They have several matching outfits to look as elegant and vibrant as they sound.

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Players

Kaitlin Findlay - Cello

Kaitlin grew up studying the cello with Dr. Carey Cheney. She won the high school concerto competition her Junior year of high school and was accepted to the National Cello Institute Advanced Residency Program 2 years in a row. She went on to work with Dr. Wesley Baldwin at the University of Tennessee and Dr. Brent Smith at Snow College. She received an honorable mention in the Snow College Concerto Competition 2016 and graduated from the Commercial Music Program in 2018. She loves exploring new sounds and possibilities on her instrument as well as arranging for the the quartet in her spare time. When she isn’t playing with the SLSQ or String FX, she loves making videos for her Youtube channel, performing with Nick Passey and the Perpetual Sadness and teaching her music students.

Sarah Olsen - Violin and Viola

Sarah Insalaco Olsen has been playing every stringed instrument she could get a hold of since the age of 10. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Music at Snow College where she played multiple instruments in several ensembles while also writing music for these ensembles as well as for theater, game, and film projects. Sarah joined the Salt Lake String Quartet in 2017 on violin and viola, and has loved playing rock, pop, and classical music while traveling the Midwest with them. She also writes and arranges music frequently for that group and for their sister quartet String FX, of which she is also a member. Sarah currently writes film, video game, and music library tracks with her husband, and she also teaches orchestra, working to inspire a passion for music in her students.

Danae Snow - Viola

Now a performing artist, musician and teacher, Danae began her musical journey at age 10 playing the Viola. Her passion grew as she went on to study Music Performance at the University of Utah on full scholarship. Danae was principal violist of the Utah Philharmonia as a sophomore in college, and played in the most prestigious string ensembles at the University. Danae is now freelancing in Salt Lake City, working and performing with musicians such as Jenny Oaks Baker, Gentri, Kurt Bestor, The Band Perry, Rob Landes, Chamber Orchestra Ogden, and Symphonia Salt Lake. Danae is an active member of the Salt Lake chapter of the Music Teacher’s National Association, the Utah Viola society and has her Suzuki teacher training in violin, viola and guitar. Danae’s hobbies outside of music include keeping up with her 2 amazing kids, loving on her 2 Rescue furbabies, doing crossfit, volunteering with the International Rescue Committee and trying to cook everything she sees on Food Network.

Anna Butler - Viola

Anna has been playing the viola for over half of her life. She discovered her love in the 4th grade while participating in the Logan City School District orchestra program. In her early years, she studied with Brett McCallister who helped her develop a deep appreciation for beautiful Classical literature. She attended string camps for several summers during her high school years, studying with accomplished artists and cultivating a love for chamber music. She then attended Snow College to pursue her passion for music further. While at Snow, she studied with Jack Ashton who taught her the important balance of technique and emotion in her playing. She went on the receive her Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music with an emphasis in production and composition. Today, Anna enjoys writing and performing her own original songs, participating in recording sessions and playing with the Salt Lake String Quartet.

Allie Neff - Violin

Allie began playing violin with her elementary orchestra at eleven years old. She started to see it as more than a hobby and started taking private lessons in the Eighth Grade. As she delved further into her studies, she began taking private lessons with Marie Maxfield and Abby Kage. In her senior year of high school, she put her music ahead of athletics and received a superior rating at the Solo and Ensemble Festival. She went on to earn a spot and a scholarship at the Horne School of Music at Snow College. Under the private instruction of Sara Gunnell and Jack Ashton, she became Concertmaster by her Junior year. It was during this year that she was honored to solo with Kurt Bestor on his piece, ‘Stradivarius.’ Allie has since graduated with her Bachelors in Commercial Music with an emphasis on violin performance. Allie has been playing with the Salt Lake String Quartet since 2017 and has continued her violin studies post college with Professor David Park.

Ariel Haubner - Cello

Ariel Haubner began her cello studies at age 7, with Dr Carey Cheney. She earned her bachelors of music at Utah state under the tutelage of Anne Francis, and spent a year in Cleveland pursuing graduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music. A passionate teacher and performer, she feels lucky to get to spend her days sharing music with others!

Lis Sims - Violin

Elisabeth Mumford Sims, a native of rural Southern Idaho, began her musical journey by picking up the violin at the age of 12. During her time in Idaho, she studied piano and violin with Anna Gray. While in high school, she won several community competitions with her performances. Elisabeth then went on to study music at Snow College. During her time there, she has had the opportunity to study with violinists Sara Gunnel, Jack Ashton, and David Park of the Utah Symphony. She has participated regularly in the Snow College Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and String Quartet. Elisabeth plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree in May of 2020. Upon graduation, Elisabeth plans to obtain a Master of Music degree in violin performance. She aspires to perform professionally in a Symphony Orchestra, and to teach as a college professor.

Crista Shoemake - Violin

Violin Artist Crista Guthrie Shoemake is a performer, arranger, music educator, and ambassador. Crista arranges music for solo violin, string quartets, other chamber groups, mariachi, orchestra, violin with piano, guitar, and many other mixed ensembles. From 2015 to 2017, she joined the violin-piano duo 92 Keys, a classically-trained group who created thrilling, cinematic arrangements of popular songs and created music videos for them on YouTube. She contributed to the first 92 Keys EP, available on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and other music platforms. Since then, she has performed solo arrangement works by the Beatles and Queen and performed in unconventional venues such as an airport terminal, Trader Joes grocery store, IKEA, a New York City subway station, and an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica. Crista has received undergraduate and Master’s degrees in violin performance from BYU-Idaho and ASU. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and puppy Woody.