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Aulos String Quartet Named Finalist in National String Competition

The UT School of Music’s Aulos String Quartet is among seven finalists recently named to compete in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) national string competition. MTNA is the oldest and largest musical organization in the US. The finals will be held virtually on February 18.


The quartet includes four undergraduate music students—Kristen Barret (violin), Becky Hearn (cello), Samantha Hearn (violin), and Zach Miller (viola).


Zach Miller, who is president of UT’s MTNA student chapter, is excited to take on the competition with the quartet. “We are honored to be recognized at the national level,” says Miller. “We are up against incredible conservatories across the US, and it gives us confidence to be in such good company.”


For this year’s competition MTNA chose seven finalists among applicants from all 50 states. Because of COVID-19, the competition was held online, allowing more ensembles to apply that might have been limited by travel. 


For Miroslav Hristov, the quartet’s coach and professor of violin at the School of Music, proud is an understatement for how he feels about this group. 


“It has been an incredible experience for me to watch them grow and develop into fine young artists and human beings,” said Hristov. “These four friends have supported each other, learned from each other, and have come together to make music with a level of artistry rarely seen in such a young ensemble.”


The group has been friends since their freshman year at UT, studying and learning under the direction of Hristov. Once they finally got the chance to form a quartet, it all came full circle.


For the finals, the quartet will be playing the first movements of the Haydn Sunrise Quartet and Johannes Brahms’ String Quartet No. 2.


No matter the outcome, Hristov is proud of his students and also extremely excited about the direction that the string area is headed at the School of Music.


“I have seen tremendous growth in the string area over the past 10 years,” said Hristov. “I am confident that when others see the level of technical and artistic mastery our students are capable of, UT will be highly sought after by young music professionals wishing to develop their craft.”


Contact: Jeff Roberts (865-974-8935,

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