Banff International String Quartet Competition announces 2016 quartets

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

BANFF, AB, May 4, 2016 – Forty extraordinary musicians from around the world will take to the stage this summer to compete at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) in beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada. Chosen by a preliminary jury of internationally acclaimed musicians following a rigorous application process, 10 string quartets will showcase their exceptional skill during five rounds of intense competition from August 29 – September 4, 2016.

The quartets are (in alphabetical order): 

  • Aeolus Quartet (USA)
  • Argus Quartet (USA)
  • Castalian String Quartet (UK)
  • Omer Quartet (USA)
  • Quartet Arpa (Japan)
  • Quartet Berlin-Tokyo (Isreal/Japan)
  • Rolston String Quartet (Canada)
  • Tesla Quartet (Russia/South Korea/USA)
  • Ulysses Quartet (Canada/USA/Taiwan)
  • Verona Quartet (Canada/USA/Singapore)

The quartets were chosen by three preliminary jurors: Clive Greensmith (Tokyo String Quartet and Faculty at the Colburn School); Douglas McNabney (Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music and Associate Professor at McGill University); and, Philip Setzer (Emerson String Quartet and Professor at Stony Brook University). Their triumph will depend on the decision of seven competition 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).

“The caliber of the quartets applying for the 2016 BISQC was phenomenal. I don’t envy the [competition] jury for the task of singling out just one. These finalists proclaim a bright future for chamber music!” says McNabney.

In addition to generous cash prizes, the laureate quartets will be awarded artistic creation residencies at Banff Centre. The First Prize Laureate will benefit from a comprehensive custom-designed three-year career development program including a professional recording at Banff Centre and a performance tour in over 50 North American and European cities. New in 2016, all seven quartets not advancing to the finals will receive a cash prize for career development. 

Past winners of BISQC include the Dover Quartet (USA), who has performed over 100 concerts per year throughout North America, South America, and Europe since sweeping the competition in 2013; the Cecilia String Quartet (Canada, 2010); the Tinalley String Quartet (Australia, 2007); the Jupiter String Quartet (USA, 2004); the Daedalus Quartet (USA, 2001); the Miró Quartet (USA,1998) and, the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Canada, 1992).

 “I am just thrilled with the level of exceptional quartets that the jury has chosen for the 12th BISQC,” says Barry Shiffman, executive director of BISQC. “The future of chamber music is very bright indeed!”

Outstanding sold out performances, special events, enlightening lectures, passionate discussions, delicious food, and spectacular mountain vistas are available to the public with the purchase of a full week or finals weekend package, passport, or individual tickets. Those unable to attend can still be a part of BISQC’s dedicated chamber music audience by streaming the competition online at or via our partner CBC Music.

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

For more information about the competition and competitors, visit

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.