Earlier this month I dropped into one of the studios in our Music building to meet with three people who had just made a very large decision. Or more like a series of very large decisions. Norman Fischer, Roger Tapping, and Jerzy Kaplanek are all preliminary jury members for the 11th Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC). Working with BISQC director Barry Shiffman, they spent most of Easter weekend narrowing down the field to ten quartets who will be coming to Banff in August to compete.
Each quartet was asked to send an unedited DVD with close to an hour of music, chosen from a selection of Haydn, early Beethoven, 20th century compositions, and Romantic pieces. It’s the first year that quartets have been asked to send a video. “I was pleasantly surprised at the level of preparation (of the entries)”, Fischer says. “I was expecting it to be easier to eliminate people.” Kaplanek agreed: “With all the groups we had, we would have thought we’d come to a conclusion a little easier.”