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Evolution: Quartet

Classical Music Summer 2020

Program Information


Evolution: Quartet explores the string quartet lineage from Haydn to new music made in Banff by and for the program’s faculty and participants.

Led by the internationally celebrated Eybler, Parker, and Jack string quartets, the Evolution: Quartet mentor group is further reinforced by an extraordinary cohort of instrumentalists, composers, and scholars. 

Participants will explore the early string quartet, with sessions on intonation, harmony, and structure, as well as in-depth discussions on style and rhetoric. Quartets from the traditional canon will be studied and performed alongside works by mentor composers Marc Sabat, Natacha Diels, and Caroline Shaw. Participant composers' works will be performed by participant string quartets, and faculty quartets will play world premieres by guest composers.

Participants and audiences alike will explore the lineage of the string quartet, both as a historical genre and as a new and invigorated practice in the early 21st century.

What does the program offer?

Evolution: Quartet provides a highly engaged, specialized, and integrated approach to performance, theory, and composition for string quartets. Participants will gain exposure to period performance of classical and romantic music through coaching as well as one-on-one and informal reading sessions, all within state of the art facilities in an astonishing natural environment.  

Participants will present public and in-house performances. The residency will produce nearly a concert per day for three weeks — from publicized, ticketed events to participant-driven “throw downs” and octet, as well as other chamber music reading sessions with participants and faculty side by side.

Participants will also convene in a daily meeting for high-level presentations by select faculty. Previous topics have included intonation, quartet dynamics, affect and rhetoric, advanced rhythm, performing editions, structural analysis, introduction to neo-Riemannian theory, and in-depth exploration of faculty composers' work and process. Performance and composition faculty will also offer coaching and private lessons.

Evolution: Quartet is designed for pre-formed string quartets; however there are opportunities for individuals. Individuals who apply will be placed in different quartets throughout the program. These newly-formed quartets will explore repertoire chosen by themselves and in consultation with faculty.

Composers will receive instruction and mentorship from the program’s internationally distinguished composition faculty, and will have their pieces performed by participants.

Who should apply?

Established string quartets, violinists, violists, cellists, and composers are encouraged to apply. The successful applicants will be post-secondary students or emerging artists, already at an advanced level of accomplishment and with a well-documented record of musical exploration. Artists from historically underrepresented groups are especially welcomed. 


What's Included

Single or Shared RoomRead MoreClose

When applying, choose between staying in a single or a shared bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

Full Flex Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Full Flex meal plan includes $41 credit per day, equivalent to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Recording OpportunitiesRead MoreClose

Demo recordings: you’ll have the option to record up to 30 minutes of music at a reduced rate as part of your program. These recordings are intended to be used for auditions or personal promotion, not for commercial purposes.

Studio recordings: commercial recordings can also be integrated into a music residency at normal rates.

Showcase Your WorkRead MoreClose

This program offers opportunities to showcase your work-in-progress in one of our performance venues.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym, and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music, and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open six days a week.

Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program Fee (single room)
$3 640.05
Program Fee with Financial Aid (single room)
$2 201.85
Program Fee (shared room)
$3 031.05
Program Fee with Financial Aid (shared room)
$1 592.85

Application fee: $65 

*Financial Aid up to 100% is available to cover tuition (meal plans and accommodations are not eligible).

If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials.

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre! View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here.

How to Apply

It is important to be aware of all steps included in submitting your application.
Learn more.

  • If you are applying as an individual composer or scholar, you must complete both the online application form (including $65 processing fee) and a SlideRoom application.
  • If you are applying as a quartet, the quartet leader must complete both the online application form (including $65 processing fee) and a SlideRoom application. Please submit only one SlideRoom application per group. There will be a $35 registration fee of each member upon acceptance to the program.


A one-page resume or C.V. describing academic, professional, and other relevant experience.

Sample of Work

Upload three samples of your groups artistic work. Examples should provide a portrait of your group and the breadth and diversity of your creative life.

Artistic Statement

A 500-word description of why you wish to attend this program, what you hope to learn, and what impact it could have on your artistic practice.

Financial Assistance

Be sure to complete the Financial Aid section to be eligible for financial assistance.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program. 

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.


All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)