Banff International String Quartet Competition announces 2016 jury and Canadian commission

12th Banff International String Quartet Competition
August 29 – September 4, 2016
Audience Packages on sale now
Banff Centre Box Office: 403.762.6301 or 1.800.413.8368 |  | @thebanffcentre

BANFF, AB, December 14, 2015 – From August 29 to September 4, 2016, experience a week of exceptional music-making in the Canadian Rockies as ten of the world’s best emerging string quartets vie for over $150,000 in cash and prizes at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC). Hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity since 1983, BISQC gives audiences an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the thrill and heartbreak of a live chamber music competition, while providing emerging musicians unparalleled exposure to concert presenters, managers, and broadcasters from North America and abroad. 

“The Banff International String Quartet Competition has a long history of celebrating the art of chamber music while providing unmatched career support for emerging string quartets,” says Barry Shiffman, executive director of BISQC. “Industry experts know that to succeed at BISQC is to set in motion a major performing career, so I encourage all quartets that dream of an international career to apply.”

For seven days, competing quartets are pushed to the highest standards with a competition repertoire that draws from string quartet staples from the classical to 20th century repertoire, and includes a new work co-commissioned by Banff Centre, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Americas Society by Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri, Assistant Professor of Composition at Columbia University.

Their triumph depends on the decision of the acclaimed international jury members representing some of the top names in chamber music: Vera Beths (Rondom Kwartet); Denis Brott (Orford String Quartet); Gérard Caussé (Quatuor Via Nova); Yoshiko Nakura (Tokyo String Quartet); Geoff Nuttall (St. Lawrence String Quartet); Peter Salaff (Cleveland Quartet); and, Alasdair Tait (Belcea Quartet).

In addition to generous cash prizes, the laureate quartets are awarded artistic creation residencies at Banff Centre. The First Prize Laureate benefits from a comprehensive custom-designed three-year career development program including a professional recording at Banff Centre and over 50 engagements in key North American and European cities. In recognition of the extraordinary level of artistry that BISQC attracts, we are delighted to introduce a new career development program which will guarantee financial support to all invited quartets.

On winning BISQC 2013, Dover Quartet violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt says, “winning BISQC has been life-changing for the four of us! The performance opportunities have been fantastic, and BISQC’s career support and counsel are truly invaluable.”

Special events during BISQC include a presentation on Thursday, September 1 of Spin Cycle by the Afiara Quartet, Second Prize Laureate, BISQC 2010. Featuring renowned DJ Skratch Bastid, the event is an innovative conversation between musical worlds. Then, on Friday, September 2, Banff Centre presents the Dover Quartet alongside Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker as part of the Alumni Gala.

BISQC’s popular sold-out lecture series continues in 2016 with an exciting lineup of leaders in the arts world including: Mentor-in-Residence Joel Krosnick, formerly of the Juilliard String Quartet; David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet in conversation with Adrian Fung of the Afiara Quartet and vice president, Innovation at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; celebrated architect Marianne McKenna of KPMB Architects; composer Zosha Di Castri; and the Dover Quartet in conversation with Mervon Mehta, executive director, Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

BISQC is open to string quartets of all nationalities whose members are under the age of 35 on September 4, 2016. Online applications will be accepted from December 1, 2015 to March 1, 2016. For more information, including competition rules and regulations, and prize descriptions, visit

To receive an audience brochure and booking form, email, or visit to purchase your audience package online.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity:  Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. 

About BISQC: Founded in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, BISQC is a triennial competition that brings together a remarkably dedicated classical music audience, and helps support emerging careers. Recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, it is among the top events of its kind. Past winners include the Dover Quartet, the Cecilia String Quartet, the TinAlley String Quartet, the Jupiter Quartet, and more.