Banff International String Quartet Festival

Banff International String Quartet Festival is a three-day festival showcasing the finest in international classical music to audiences through a completely immersive experience.

In 2017, the Banff International String Quartet Festival commenced in non-competition years. Led by Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition Barry Shiffman, the festival features competition alumni alongside special guests exploring repertoire from across the centuries.

Mark your calendars!

The next BISQFest, live and in-person,  takes place September 1 - 3, 2023.

April 26: Pre-sale for past BISQFest package holders begins

May 3: Pre-sale for 2022 BISQC package holders begins

May 10: Public On-Sale begins


Be sure to sign up for newsletter updates.

Schedule at a Glance

Over the span of three days, audience members will be immersed in a concert schedule that features some of the finest quartets of our time. Performances, open rehearsals, lectures, and shared meals make BISQfest a music-lover's experience you will never forget. 

Full schedule details will be released May 2023.  

Friday, September 1

  • 2:30pm Concert #1
  • 4:30pm Passholder Welcome Event with Festival Director Barry Shiffman
  • 7:30pm Concert #2


Saturday. September 2

  • 10:30am Concert #3
  • 2:30pm Concert #4
  • 4:30pm Passholder Special Event
  • 7:30pm Concert #5


Sunday, September 3

  • 10:30am Concert #6
  • 2:30pm Concert #7
  • 4:30pm Passholder Special Event
  • 7:30pm Concert #8


All performances are held in the Rolston Recital Hall unless otherwise noted. Schedule subject to change.

Festival Packages, Passports, and Tickets

With various options to choose from, we make it easy for you to enjoy every note of the Banff International String Quartet Festival by staying on site in the comfort of Banff Centre's hotels with full amenities.

Festival Packages

  • 3 or 4 nights accommodation
  • All meals in Vistas Dining Room
  • Reserved seating to all performances
  • Access to all special events



For our audience who wants to experience it all but does not require accommodation or meals at Banff Centre. Includes reserved seating to all performances and access to all special events. Packages and passports on sale May 2023.

Individual Tickets

Individual tickets on sale early summer 2023.

Special Pre-Sale

Past Banff International String Quartet Competition and Festival audience have access to Packages and Passports prior to the public on sale. Pre-Sale dates will be announced late spring 2023. 

Rolston Recital Hall

All performances during the Banff International String Quartet Festival take place in the Rolston Recital Hall at Banff Centre. When you purchase your Package or Passport, the same seat will be reserved for you in the Rolston Recital Hall for the entire Festival. When you book, you will be able to share with us your preferred seats.

Watch Recordings from the online 2021 Banff International String Quartet Festival.

Banff International String Quartet Director - Barry Shiffman

Barry Shiffman is seated on a chair with a violin resting on his knee.

Photo credit: Stuart Lowe

Barry Shiffman enjoys a diverse career as a musician, educator, and administrator. He was co-founder of the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) and currently serves as both the Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music at Glenn Gould School, and Director of the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. 

During his 17 years with the SLSQ he appeared in over 2,000 concerts in venues around the globe, and recorded several critically acclaimed discs under an exclusive contract with EMI Classics. While with SLSQ, Shiffman served as artistin-residence at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006 and as visiting artist at the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2006. 

Shiffman has also served in numerous roles at Banff Centre, including Director of Music Programs (2006-2010), Artistic Director of Summer Classical Music Programs (2010-2016), and Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition since 2006. During his tenure at Banff Centre he introduced new programming in classical music performance, composition, popular music, and jazz and oversaw the dramatic growth of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, including the successful launch of the Banff Centre International String Quartet Festival in 2017.

In 2018, Shiffman was appointed Artistic Director of Rockport Music in Massachusetts, overseeing all classical programming for the organization including a five-week summer chamber music festival at the venerable Shalin Liu Performance Center. From 2009-2017, he was Executive Artistic Director of Music in the Morning Concert Society in Vancouver. A sought-after juror, he has served on the violin jury of the Tchaikovsky and Montreal Violin Competitions, and the String Quartet Competitions of London Wigmore Hall, Lyon, and Geneva.

Shiffman received his formal studies at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, University of Toronto, Utrecht Conservatory, Hartt School of Music, Juilliard School, and Yale University. Summer studies included Banff Centre, Tanglewood, and Aspen. He is also  the recipient of the Longy School’s Nadia Boulanger Prize for Excellence in the Art of Teaching, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Calgary.




Show your support for young musicians coming to Banff for the next Banff International String Quartet Competition. 

Donate Now

Banff International String Quartet Festival is generously supported by: 

Lead Supporters
Sir Jack Lyons Charitable Trust

Supported by: