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Guide to the Banff String Quartet Competition


The Banff International String Quartet Competition, a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, is recognized as one of the premier chamber music competitions in the world.

Established in 1983 and occurring triennially, BISQC is set in the splendour of the Rocky Mountains at the world renowned Banff Centre. A large celebration of chamber music in a festival format, BISQC attracts 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. 

  • Over $300,000 in cash and prizes awarded including career development support, international concert tours, and residency & recording opportunities

  • 2019 jury members include: Gillian Ansell, Martin Beaver, Adrian Fung, David Harrington, Nobuko Imai, Philip Setzer, Ursula Smith

  • Cellist Joel Krosnick will be on-site throughout the competition as Mentor-in-Residence

  • All 10 invited quartets are provided transportation from their home to Banff as well as room and board for the duration of BISQC

  • All 7 quartets not advancing to the finals receive a $4,000 CDN cash prize.

Past winners have included the 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.

Click here for the general event information. 

More competitor and application information here.

Fact file
SectionsString quartet
Deadline01 Oct 2018 - 01 Mar 2019
Finals26 Aug - 01 Sep 2019
WhereBanff, Canada
Age groupsMax 35 years old on August 26, 2019

Total of CAD $300,000 in cash and 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.

Career Development Awards

In recognition of the extraordinary level of artistry that BISQC attracts, in 2016 a new career development program was introduced which will guarantees financial support to all invited quartets. All seven quartets not advancing to the finals will receive a CAD $4,000.00 cash prize.

New for 2019!

A new collaboration with the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (SMU) will give the 2019 First Prize Laureates a two-year paid residency in Dallas, Texas worth over $160,000 USD. The Southern Methodist University Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize gives the winner a two year stipend, participation in master classes and workshops with visiting artists; access to rehearsal space on the SMU campus; extensive performance opportunities in Dallas; career development; and more.


Banff Competition Recital Round


Banff Competition Romantic Round

Banff Competition Canadian Commission Round and Special Event with Kronos Quartet

Kronos Quartet

Banff Competition Recital Round Day 2


Banff Competition Romantic Round Day 2 featuring Laureates Rolston String Quartet

Rolston String Quartet

Banff Competition Schubert plus Round


Banff Competition Finals