BISQC 2022 Competitor Information

Competition Dates

August 29 – September 4, 2022

Competition Information

Overview

The Banff International String Quartet Competition is recognized as one of the premier chamber music competitions in the world. Established in 1983, BISQC is a large celebration of chamber music in a festival format attracting enthusiastic capacity audiences. The unparalleled exposure to concert presenters, managers and broadcasters from North America and abroad makes BISQC a career launching pad for all invited ensembles. 

All 10 quartets invited to participate in the competition are provided transportation from their home to Banff, as well as room and board for the duration of BISQC.

Prizes

In addition to generous cash prizes, the laureate quartets are offered residency opportunities at Banff Centre and, for the first prize laureates, a custom-designed three-year artistic and career development program which includes the Southern Methodist University Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize, a 2-year paid residency worth $200,000 CAD, as well as an Esterházy Foundation Residency withconcerts at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and the Lucerne Festival.

 

Full details below and in the Rules, Regulations and Repertoire.

View Jury Voting Procedures.

Career Development Prizes

In recognition of the extraordinary level of artistry that BISQC attracts, in 2016 a new career development program was introduced which guarantees financial support to all invited quartets. All seven quartets not advancing to the finals will receive a Christine and David Anderson Prize of $5,000.00 CAD.

How to Apply - Opening on October 4, 2021

Online applications are accepted between the dates of October 4, 2021 and March 1, 2022. 

Applying for BISQC is a 2-step process:

  1. Apply and pay $225 fee through Banff Centre's online portal
  2. Complete Accept'd application to submit support material
 

Applications close March 1, 2022, 23:59 GMT -07:00 (11:59 pm MT)
ALL SUPPORT MATERIAL INCLUDING VIDEOS, MUST BE SUBMITTED BY THIS TIME.

Apply Now

Prizes

1st Place Laureates:

One quartet will be awarded a custom-designed, three-year artistic and career development program which includes:

  • $25,000 CAD cash prize;
  • Winner’s Concert Tours in career-building markets in Europe and North America, arranged by Banff Centre;
  • A two-week residency at Banff Centre including a recording produced by Banff Centre;
  • Coaching, career guidance, and mentorship;
  • Southern Methodist University Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize which includes a two-year paid visiting residency at the Meadows School involving performances, coaching, and mentorship. This residency is valued at over $200,000 CAD.
  • Esterházy Foundation Residency including concerts at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and the Lucerne Festival.

 

2nd Place Laureates:

  • $12,000 CAD cash prize;
  • A creative residency at Banff Centre including coaching and mentorship opportunities.

3rd Place Laureates:

•    $8,000 CAD cash prize;
•    A creative residency at Banff Centre including coaching and mentorship opportunities.

The R.S. Williams & Sons Haydn Prize:

$4,000 for the best performance of a Haydn quartet from Round 1.

The R.S. Williams & Sons Canadian Commission Prize:

$4,000 for the best performance in Round 3 of the new commissioned quartet by Dinuk Wijeratne.

Christine and David Anderson Prizes: 

In recognition of the extraordinary level of artistry that BISQC attracts, all 7 quartets not advancing to the finals will receive a $5,000 CAD prize to support their emerging careers. 

Rules, Regulations, and Repertoire

ELIGIBILITY

1. The competition is open to string quartets of all nationalities whose members are each under the age of 35 on September 5, 2022.

2. First and second prize winners of any previous Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) are ineligible to apply. For the purposes of this rule, this includes quartets or individual members of quartets.

3. Quartets that have already competed twice in BISQC are ineligible to apply. For the purposes of this rule, a quartet will be considered the same group if 50 percent of the personnel are returning.

APPLICATION PROCESS

4. Application is a two-staged online process. Submitting your application form and fee via Banff Centre’s portal is STAGE 1. Submitting your support materials via the Acceptd online application tool is STAGE 2. All materials must be submitted online:

4.1) STAGE 1:

  • Online application form
  • A non-refundable application fee of $225 CAD. Payment must be made via Banff Centre’s Office of the Registrar.

4.2) STAGE 2:

  • A resume of the quartet’s history including repertoire list and performance history for the period covering January 2019 to October 2021. Please include all booked concerts that may have been cancelled due to the pandemic as well as any online concerts.
  • A professional quality, high-resolution colour photograph with photo credit details.
  • A brief description of each member’s training and experience.
  • Proof of date of birth for each quartet member (e.g. copy of valid passport or birth certificate).
  • Two recommendations are to be requested directly via the online application tool.
  • Three videos* (one per work) recorded after January 1, 2021, containing:

4.2.1) Two contrasting movements of a quartet by Franz Joseph Haydn from Opus 20, 33, 50, 54, 55, 64, 71, 74, 76 or 77;

OR

Two contrasting movements from one of the ten celebrated W.A. Mozart quartets (K. 387, K. 421, K. 428, K. 458, K. 464, K. 465, K. 499, K. 575, K, 589, K, 590);

OR

Two contrasting movements from one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 18 quartets.

4.2.2) First movement from a quartet from the romantic or nationalist repertoire of the 19th century, or the Debussy Quartet, Op. 10, or the Ravel Quartet, or the Elgar Quartet, Op. 83, or Sibelius Quartet "Voces intimae", Op. 56. Quartets by Schubert or Beethoven will not be accepted in this round.

4.2.3) A complete quartet from the following list:

  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 1, Sz. 40
  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 2, Sz. 67
  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85
  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91
  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 5, Sz. 102
  • Béla Bartók:  String Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114
  • Alban Berg: Lyric Suite
  • Alban Berg: String Quartet, Op. 3
  • Benjamin Britten: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25
  • Benjamin Britten:  String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36
  • Benjamin Britten:  String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94
  • Henri Dutilleux: Ainsi la nuit
  • Alberto Ginastera: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20
  • Alberto Ginastera: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26
  • Paul Hindemith: String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22
  • Paul Hindemith: String Quartet No. 5, Op. 32
  • Leoš Janáček:  String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”
  • Leoš Janáček:  String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”
  • György Ligeti:  String Quartet No. 1
  • György Ligeti:  String Quartet No. 2
  • Arnold Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30
  • Arnold Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 4, Op. 37
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet in F Major, No. 3, Op. 73
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet in B flat Major, No. 5, Op. 92
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet in E flat Major, No. 9, Op. 117
  • Alexander Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 19
  • Alexander Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 4, Op. 25

*The videos must be of professional quality, shot by a single stationary camera in real-time, and must not be edited or altered in any way. You will be required to clearly identify your repertoire in the online application portal.  BISQC reserves the right to disqualify studio enhanced or modified recordings, or recordings that are not of professional quality. Physical DVDs or CDs, or digital audio recordings will NOT be accepted. Applicants must use the Acceptd online application tool.

5. Online applications, together with all required supporting documents and the application fee, must be submitted between the dates of October 4, 2021, and March 1, 2022. All application materials must be received by March 1, 2022 (23:59 GMT-07:00).

SELECTION PROCESS

6.  All applications will be pre-screened by BISQC prior to the preliminary jury adjudication process. Any application not meeting the highest standards will not be forwarded to the preliminary jury for consideration.

7. The preliminary jury members will review the submitted video recordings and supporting documents. No more than 10 quartets will be selected to attend the competition.

8. Quartets selected for the 14th BISQC will be advised by April 30, 2022, by email and phone.

9. The quartets selected to participate in BISQC are required to arrive in Banff Friday, August 26, 2022, and remain on-site through to a departure of Monday, September 5, 2022.

JURY

10. Selected Quartets shall not communicate with jury members during the competition, nor shall any other person communicate with the jury members on behalf of any competitor. Violation of this rule may result in automatic disqualification from the competition.

11. The decisions of the preliminary jury and the competition jury shall be final, and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the decisions of either group.

COMPETITION REPERTOIRE & FORMAT

12.The quartet’s selected repertoire for performance during the competition may include the works presented during the application phase.

13. Each quartet invited to BISQC will perform in the first four rounds and if selected, will perform a fifth time during the Final Round.

14. The competition format and required repertoire is as follows:

14.1) ROUND 1:  21st Century Haydn

Quartets will perform a complete work by Franz Joseph Haydn from the list below as well as a complete quartet written in 2000 or later (2000-2022). The total time of this round shall not exceed 50 minutes.

Haydn Selections:

  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 20, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 33, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 50, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 54, No. 1, 2 or 3
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 55, No. 1, 2 or 3
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 64, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 71, No. 1, 2 or 3
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 74, No. 1, 2 or 3
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 76, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Franz Joseph Haydn:  String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1 or 2

Ensembles will perform complete works in the order of their preference.  Ensembles may leave the stage briefly between works. PLEASE NOTE: Ensembles may be required to provide a copy of the score for their chosen contemporary work.

14.2) ROUND 2:  Romantic

Quartets will perform a complete quartet from the romantic or nationalist repertoire of the 19th century, or the Debussy Quartet, Op. 10, or the Ravel Quartet, or the Elgar Quartet, Op. 83, or Sibelius Quartet "Voces intimae", Op. 56. Quartets by Schubert or Beethoven will not be accepted in this round.

14.3) ROUND 3:  Canadian Commission

Quartets will perform a new quartet of approximately 9 minutes in length by Canadian-Sri Lankan composer Dinuk Wijeratne. The work will be available to quartets that successfully pass the preliminary screening round and accept the invitation to participate in the 14th BISQC. Score and parts will be sent to the competing quartets by July 5, 2022.

14.4) ROUND 4:  Recital Ad-Lib

A program of up to 35 minutes programmed with a repertoire of the Quartet’s choosing. This round may include full works or single movements.

*Note: It cannot include Beethoven's works listed in 14.5 (Round 5) but may include other works of Beethoven if desired.

Following the Recital Round, the jury will select three ensembles to advance to the fifth, and final, round.

14.5)  ROUND 5:  Beethoven Finals

One complete quartet from the following list:

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 59, No. 1, 2, or 3
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 127
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 130 (Competitors may choose as the last movement either the Finale: Allegro from Op. 130 or the Grosse Fugue from Op. 133)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 131
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 132
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 135

15. If accepted to compete in the 14th BISQC, competitors will be advised, prior to arrival in Banff, as to which repeats will be accepted and which repeats must be omitted during performances.

16. The works from the repertoire list as stated on the application form will be the repertoire performed during the competition. No other work may be substituted without the prior written approval of the BISQC Director.

17. Any quartet that has competed in a previous Banff International String Quartet Competition cannot present any of the same repertoire they performed for the public and jury in any previous BISQC.

18. Quartets are free to perform standing or sitting in any formation.

19. All performances take place in the Jenny Belzberg Theatre at Banff Centre.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

20.  BISQC and Banff Centre will provide the following to all invited quartets:

20.1) Return economy airfare from the quartet’s home base to the Calgary International Airport (including cello seat).

20.2) Return ground transportation to the Banff Centre from the Calgary International Airport.

20.3) Accommodation, as is appropriate on Banff Centre campus from Friday, August 26 to Monday, September 5, 2022 (check-out Monday, September 5, 2022).

20.4) All meals from Friday, August 26 through Monday, September 5.

20.5) A separate rehearsal room for each quartet.

21. Obtaining appropriate travel documents and insurance is the sole responsibility of each competitor. BISQC accepts no liability of any kind whatsoever for any personal illness or injury sustained by the competitor or for loss or damage to a competitor’s belongings, including instruments, during transit or while at the competition.

22. Under no circumstances will a change of personnel between the application process and the end of the competition in Banff be permitted.

23. BISQC has the right, without payment of any fee, to record, videotape, film, broadcast, or photograph any competition concerts or events for any purpose. All rights, including copyright in such media, shall vest in and be owned by BISQC in perpetuity.

24. BISQC has the right to produce and distribute without limit or payment of any fee, audio and/or video recordings of all competition concerts or events in whole or in part.

25. The official language of the competition is English.

PRIZES

26. The following prizes shall be awarded:

1st Place Laureates: One quartet will be awarded a custom-designed, three-year artistic and career development program which includes:

  • $25,000 CDN cash prize;
  • Winner’s Concert Tours in career-building markets in Europe and North America, arranged by Banff Centre;
  • A two-week residency at Banff Centre including a recording produced by Banff Centre;
  • Coaching, career guidance, and mentorship;
  • Southern Methodist University Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize which includes a two-year paid visiting residency at the Meadows School involving performances, coaching, and mentorship. This residency is valued at over $200,000 CDN.
  • Esterházy Foundation Residency including concerts at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and the Lucerne Festival.

2nd Place Laureates:

  • $12,000 CDN cash prize;
  • A creative residency at Banff Centre including coaching and mentorship opportunities.

3rd Place Laureates:

  • $8,000 CDN cash prize;
  • A creative residency at Banff Centre including coaching and mentorship opportunities.

The R.S. Williams & Sons Haydn Prize: $4,000 CDN for the best performance of a Haydn quartet from Round 1.

The R.S. Williams & Sons Canadian Commission Prize: $4,000 CDN for the best performance in Round 3 of the newly commissioned quartet by Dinuk Wijeratne.

Christine and David Anderson Prize: $5,000 CDN for each of the quartets not selected to the final round of the competition.

27. All quartets accepted into the competition must agree that, if they win first prize, they will perform in the Winner’s Concert Tour arranged for them by BISQC or its designates in Fall 2023, Winter 2024, and Spring or Summer 2024.  Concert booking periods will be available to all accepted quartets by April 30, 2022.

28. BISQC does not retain any fees for its management service in arranging the Winner’s Concert Tour but reserves the right to enter into an agreement with other management to secure concert engagements. Concert engagements obtained by BISQC or its designates as part of the first prize will not be subject to any fee payable to the prize winner's current or future artist management. In addition, the winning quartet and its current or future artist management agree to give exclusivity within a 100 km radius to Winner’s Concert Tour presenters for the concert season in which the quartet appears.

29. Should a situation arise where the winning quartet cannot procure the necessary travel documents or visas, or cannot fulfill the concert obligations, BISQC retains the right to transfer the winning prize to the runner up or a quartet of its choosing.  

30. Should there be a change in the personnel of the winning quartet after the competition, BISQC reserves the right to cancel the winning quartet’s participation in the winner’s career development program, including any future concert performances.

31. All competing Quartets coming to Banff Centre campus agree to comply with all provincial and Banff Centre mandated health and safety measures.

32. By agreeing to participate in BISQC 2022, competing Quartets become ambassadors of Banff Centre and the Banff International String Quartet Competition and must conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. BISQC reserves the right to cancel the participation of Quartets and/or their members that display inappropriate behaviour in advance of or during the competition or during the Winner’s Concert Tour and Career Development period. Quartets will be required to sign a Code of Conduct as part of the application process and Winners will have a Code of Conduct included in their Career Development contract.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT PRIZE

33. Upon completion of the first four rounds of BISQC, all quartets not selected to the final round of the competition will receive a Christine and David Anderson Prize of $5,000 CDN.

Prizes are in Canadian dollars and are subject to relevant Canadian government withholding taxes (with the exception of the Southern Methodist University Peak Residency. Funds for the SMU Residency are paid directly by SMU to the musicians of the winning ensemble and may be subject to the United States withholding taxes).

ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION

34. Banff Centre sits on the side of Sacred Buffalo Guardian Mountain and BISQC takes place on Treaty Seven Territory, the traditional and ancestral home of the Indigenous Nations Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot, and Tsuut’ina. We acknowledge that for many of our competitors, this privilege may not be understood as Canada’s relationship with our Indigenous people is one where we are actively working towards Reconciliation for past and current injustices. For 2022, BISQC is taking additional responsibility to work with the traditional Indigenous Nations and offer learning opportunities that will connect our quartets more closely with the beautiful lands on which BISQC takes place. The ten competitors will be encouraged to participate in a pre-recorded online learning session prior to arrival as well as an in-person group session as part of on-campus artist orientation. These sessions, led by members of Treaty Seven Territory, are designed to offer participants an opportunity to build a connection to the history and land.

Canadian Commission

Dinuk Wijeratne

Quartets will perform a new quartet of approximately 9 minutes in length by Canadian-Sri Lankan composer Dinuk Wijeratne

Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist who has been described by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’, by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as ‘a modern polymath’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk was featured as a main character in ‘What would Beethoven do?’ – the 2016 documentary about innovation in classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Forthcoming projects include new works for Grammy-winning baritone Elliot Madore (featuring Dinuk as pianist) and Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, the test piece for the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2022, and conducting debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic, Doha.

Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut while still a student in 2004 as a composer, conductor, and pianist performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the BoulezSaal (Berlin), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opéra Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Sri Lanka, Japan, and across the Middle East. Dinuk grew up in Dubai before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York’s Juilliard School. Conducting studies followed at New York’s Mannes College of Music, and doctoral studies under Christos Hatzis at the University of Toronto.

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, David Jalbert, James Ehnes, Kinan Azmeh, Bev Johnston, Joseph Petric, Sandeep Das, Tim Garland, Ed Thigpen, Ramesh Misra, Barry Guy, Eric Vloeimans, Buck 65, DJ Skratch Bastid, the Gryphon Trio, the Afiara, Danel & Cecilia String Quartets, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ Percussion, and the Symphony orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver, the National Arts Centre, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Illinois, Fresno, Asheville, Saskatoon, Windsor, Victoria, PEI, and Thunder Bay. Dinuk is the only artist to have served both as Conductor-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence of a Canadian orchestra (Symphony Nova Scotia).

A passionate educator, Dinuk is committed to helping emerging and mid-career classical artists navigate the classical music industry in today’s increasingly complex, diverse, and globalized world. As a Creativity Consultant he serves private clients as well as students of the Banff Centre (Evolution Classical) and Toronto’s Glenn Gould School. His educational guide ‘Define Your Artistic Voice’ was downloaded 150 times from his blog within the first two days of its release. Dinuk also served as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra for thirteen seasons. He is also the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the NS Established Artist Award; NS Masterworks nominations for his Tabla Concerto and piano trio Love Triangle; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard, Mannes, & Countess of Munster scholarships; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honour. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.

www.dinukwijeratne.com

Many competitions exist for chamber music, but no competition is as prestigious for string quartets exclusively as Banff.  Having served on the jury twice—once in the preliminary screening round and once for the live auditions in Banff—I can say, without any doubt, that the judging was  honest and transparent.  The Banff Competition has certainly helped launch the careers of many deserving young string quartets.

Philip Setzer, Emerson String Quartet