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BISQC Classics Revisited

Posted on March 13, 2019

St. Lawrence String Quartet with Barry Schiffman (left) during the 4th Banff International String Quartet Competition, 1992. Image courtesy of the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives.

In 2019, the archival team finished a major project of arranging and describing 15 years’ worth of early Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) materials. The project involved the digitization of 51 audio reels from the Festival’s inaugural 1983 competition, and Archives Assistant, Andrew Hennan, began working on the bulk of the organizing and processing. Going through the BISQC archives unearthed a treasure trove of material documenting the early competitions, including over 2000 photographs and 600 audio recordings, as well as video recordings, administrative records, and promotional items including: t-shirts, a wrist-watch, and a wine bottle from 2001 (which was, sadly, empty).

The aim of this project was to improve public access to the BISQC archives. An online catalogue of the material was created, and the digitization of the 1983 reels was deemed especially important as they were at high risk from degradation. This project was funded by a grant the Archives received through the Archives Society of Alberta’s “Access to Holdings Program”.

Take a look at the new BISQC catalogue here

And to get you in the mood for this year's BISQ competition, check out the recordings from the 1st BISQC on Soundcloud