The Dover Quartet wins first prize at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition

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Banff, Alberta, August 31, 2013 - This evening, competition director Barry Shiffman announced that the Dover Quartet (USA) has been awarded First Prize in the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Following six days of juried concerts focused on classical, Romantic, and contemporary repertoire, the winner was chosen from a group of the world’s most accomplished young string quartets.

"In a competition that was remarkable for the very high standard of performances, the Dover Quartet consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of maturity, poise and artistry," said Barry Shiffman, executive director of BISQC. "This young group is ready for a major performing career, and we look forward to working together to help make that happen."  

The RBC Awards First Prize package includes a prize of $25,000 (CND), an extensive  three-year career development program including concert tours in Europe and North America, Banff Centre residencies, including the production of a CD recorded and produced by the Centre’s Audio department, and public relations assistance. As well, the first prize includes a quartet of custom bows by renowned bow maker François Malo, and a concert in Paris produced by ProQuartet.  

The evening’s other RBC Award winners include: 

• Second Prize ($12,000) – Quatuor Cavatine (France)
• Third Prize ($8,000) –  Navarra Quartet (UK/Ireland/Netherlands)
• Székely Prize ($3,000 awarded for the best performance of a Schubert quartet) – Dover Quartet
• Canadian Commission Prize ($2,000 awarded for the best performance of Canadian composer Vivian Fung’s String Quartet No. 3, commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Banff Centre for the competition) – Dover Quartet
• R.S. Williams & Sons Haydn Prize ($3,000 awarded for the best performance of a Haydn Quartet) – Dover Quartet
• Esterhazy Foundation Prize (Recital in Haydn Hall at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, for the First Prize laureate, including €2000 artist fee and travel expenses)  

Founded in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre, BISQC is a triennial competition that helps support emerging careers. Recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, it is among the top events of its kind.  

The BISQC preliminary jury, charged with selecting the competition’s 10 finalists included former member of the Concord Quartet and current coordinator of chamber music at the Tanglewood Music Centre Norman Fischer, violinist Jerzy Kaplanek of the Penderecki String Quartet, and violist and former member of the Takács Quartet Roger Tapping. The seven competition jurors include violist Miguel de Silva, who plays for the Ysaÿe Quartet; cellist András Fejér, founder of the Takács Quartet; violinist Kikuei Ikeda of the Tokyo String Quartet and faculty member at the Yale School of Music; Garth Knox, former violist of the Arditti Quartet; violinist Nicolas Kitchen, founder of the Borromeo String Quartet; cellist Richard Lester of the London Haydn Quartet; and violinist Scott St. John of the St. Lawrence String Quartet.  

The Dover Quartet
Joel Link, violin
Bryan Lee, violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
Camden Shaw, cello  

Considered one of the most remarkably talented young string quartets ever to emerge at such a young age, the Dover Quartet (formerly known as the Old City String Quartet) was the grand prize-winner of the 2010 Fischoff Competition. Formed at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2008, when its members were just 19 years old, the quartet draws from the musical lineage of both the Vermeer and Guarneri quartets, but brings a youthful enthusiasm and musical conviction to the repertoire that is truly its own. The Strad recently raved that the Dover Quartet is "already pulling away from their peers with their exceptional interpretative maturity, tonal refinement and taut ensemble."  

The Dover Quartet has won prizes at the London International String Quartet Competition; and has taken part in festivals such as Artosphere, La Jolla SummerFest, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Recent performances include those for such influential series as the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Peoples' Symphony, Schneider Concerts, Kneisel Hall, and the Houston Friends of Chamber Music. The Dover Quartet will be continuing their close collaboration with violist Roberto Díaz on an extensive European tour in spring 2013 including performances throughout Germany, Austria, Spain, and the United Kingdom.  

Individual members of the quartet have appeared as soloists with some of the world's finest orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, and BBC Concert Orchestra. The group's recording of the Mendelssohn and Debussy quartets (Unipheye Music) was awarded the Blue Moon Award by the highly respected audiophile website 6moons.com. The album's review by David Kan proclaimed that "...the maturity in these interpretations is phenomenal and disproportionate to the age [of the group]." The ensemble has worked intensively at the Curtis Institute with such renowned chamber musicians as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Arnold Steinhardt, Joseph Silverstein, and Peter Wiley; and is currently the graduate string quartet-in-residence at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas.  

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. www.banffcentre.ca

About BISQC: Founded in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre, 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 have included the St. Lawrence, Miró, Daedalus, Jupiter, TinAlley, and Cecilia String Quartets. BISQC takes place in the beautiful setting of Banff, Canada’s first National Park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

About RBC's Commitment to Community and Sustainability: Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and are among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, and investor services and wholesale banking on a global basis. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 44 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.  

Additional funding for BISQC comes from the Freeze Family Career Development Fund and the Aurora Fund of Banff Centre. The BISQC Commissioned Piece is supported by Banff Centre and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.