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Rolston Quartet wins Banff International String Quartet Competition $150,000 top prize

The ensemble receives a cash award of $25,000 in addition to a three-year artistic and career development programme of concert tours, residencies and recordings

September 5, 2016

The Rolston String Quartet from Canada has been named the winner of the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition and takes home over $150,000 worth of prizes – including a cash award of $25,000 and a three-year artistic and career development programme of concert tours, residencies and recordings. The ensemble triumphed over ten competing quartets, who performed in five testing rounds throughout the past week in Banff, Canada.

Second prize, including a cash award of $12,000 and a creative residency at the Banff Centre goes to the Tesla Quartet  from Russia, South Korea and the USA, while third prize of $8,000 cash and a creative residency at the Banff Centre goes to the Castalian Quartet from the UK.

The Tesla Quartet also takes home the RS Williams & Sons Haydn Prize of $3,000 for the best performance of Haydn in the first round, and the $3,000 Canadian Commission Prize for the best performance of the commissioned work.

The seven ensembles who did not make it to the finals each receive a $4,000 career development award.

Formed in 2013 at the Banff Centre’s Chamber Music Residency, the Rolston String Quartet – violinists Luri Lee and Jeffrey Dyrda, violist Hazekiah Leung and cellist Jonathan Lo – is currently Graduate Quartet in Residence at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and is a former Grand Prize winner at Chamber Music Yellow Springs.

‘As a Canadian musician, it’s a lifelong dream to have won this competition,’ said Dryda at a press conference following the group’s win. ‘For all of us, it has always been our goal to play in a professional string quartet and to find colleagues who would work and grow together on this incredible journey,’ added Lo. ‘Performing different repertoire every day at a high level was very hard,’ admitted Lee. ‘We were last to play for yesterday’s round and finished at 10pm. When we found out that we had made today’s final it was close to midnight. After that we didn’t sleep!’ she said.

This year’s jury included Vera Beths (Rondom Kwartet); Denis Brott (Orford String Quartet); Gérard Caussé (Quatuor Via Nova); Yoshiko Nakura (Tokyo String Quartet); Geoff Nuttall (St. Lawrence String Quartet); Peter Salaff (Cleveland Quartet); and Alasdair Tait (Belcea Quartet).

Winner of the last BISQC in 2013 was the Dover Quartet from the USA, which has performed over 100 concerts per year throughout North America, South America, and Europe as part of its prize. Previous BISQC winners also include the Cecilia String Quartet (Canada, 2010); the Jupiter String Quartet (USA, 2004); the Miró Quartet (USA, 1998); and the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Canada, 1992).

For more information visit bisqc.ca.

Read: Banff International String Quartet Competition 2016 names three finalists

Read: Banff International String Quartet Competition 2016 names 10 shortlisted ensembles

Watch: How to bring the house down – Quartet Berlin-Tokyo performs Jörg Widmann at Banff String Quartet Competition

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