Friday, April 29, 2022

the BISQC lineup

Today was the announcement of the ten quartets that will be performing in the Banff International String Quartet Competition at the end of August. I'm not attending this year, though I went to the last two triennial events, but I'm still interested, and I believe the concerts will be live-cast, so I intend to listen to at least a lot of them. (But that's aspirational. Doubting I'd have the stamina to attend them all any more is one reason I'm not going in person.)

They did livecast the announcement today. So far they haven't put up any information on the quartets or their repertoires for the competition, but I did at least copy down the names and look them all up. They were identified by country or countries of origin, and I've classified them thus here. Interestingly, no Canadian groups this time: local favorites have traditionally done well at Banff. There was a point made to say that no countries were excluded.

So I'm putting them down here so that I have links to them and can listen to their clips at leisure:

US groups
Abeo Quartet
Balourdet Quartet
Isidore String Quartet

European groups
Quatuor Agate (France) (a 2019 competitor)
Animato Quartet (Netherlands, also Norway)
Karski Quartet (Belgium, also Poland)
Opus13 String Quartet (Norway, also Sweden)
Sonoro Quartet (Belgium, also Ireland)

Miscellaneous groups (both based in the US)
Dior Quartet (US/Israel/Korea/St. Lucia)
Terra String Quartet (US/Venezuela/Iceland/Australia)

The director of Banff is named as a mentor of the Dior Quartet, but he's not one of the judges so I don't know how much of an edge that will give them.

One thing I'm eager to see about the repertoire is that, where each previous BISQC has begun with a recital round of one Haydn and one "modern" (basically post-1905) quartet, this one is asking for the modern piece to be written 2000 or later. So out with the Bartok, Janacek, and Ligeti which have dominated in the past; if you want to play one of those (and I suspect most will), you'll have to save it for the ad lib round. I've gone through the complete list of compositions played, and find that, to date, six compositions that meet the date requirements have been played in ad lib rounds at the last two competitions - not counting the new compositions commissioned by Canadian composers for all the quartets to play. So there's plenty of material out there, some of it actually good. I'm looking forward to this.

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