For over 30 years, Banff International String Quartet Competition has celebrated the art of chamber music while providing career support for emerging string quartets. Intended as a one-time special event, the first competition was held in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The outstanding success of the first competition inspired organizers to make this a triennial event.
The competition gives audiences an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the thrill and heartbreak of a live chamber music competition as 10 of the world’s best young string quartets vie for over $250,000 CAD in cash and prizes, including the Christine and David Anderson Prize of $5,000 CAD for each of the 7 quartets not advancing to finals.
The triennial competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions and is widely recognized among the top events of its kind.
Key dates for BISQC 2022:
October 4th 2021: Applications Open for Quartets
Late January 2022: Audience Package sales open
March 1st 2022: Applications close for Quartets
August 29-September 4, 2022: Banff International String Quartet Competition in Banff, Alberta!
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 with concerts at Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt and the Lucerne Festival.
Past winners have included the Marmen & Viano Quartets, St. Lawrence, Miró, Daedalus, Jupiter, TinAlley, Cecilia, Dover, and Rolston String Quartets. The competition is open to quartets of all nationalities whose members are all under the age of 35 at the time of the competition.
View 2019 Winner's Tour schedule.
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From the very first day we set foot at the Banff Centre with nine other quartets, BISQC was nothing short of a career-changing experience! It is so much more than a competition; creating a strong community and network of incredible musicians, fostering everyone’s excitement not only to work hard but to love what we do. The career opportunities that we and our peers at BISQC have had as a result have been absolutely invaluable.
View BISQC 2019 competition performances on Vimeo
View details on the 2019 competing quartets.
View video announcement (Livestream on April 30 in Toronto) with Director Barry Shiffman and Rolston String Quartet, the 2016 Laureates.
View 2019 Brochure Online
View 2019 Brochure (printable PDF)