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BREAKING | Joint-1st Prize Awarded at Banff International Quartet Competition

The Marmen Quartet and the Viano String Quartet have been awarded joint-1st prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition

The London-based Marmen Quartet and the Los Angeles-based Viano String Quartet have just minutes ago been awarded joint-1st prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition - in Banff, Canada.

2nd prize was awarded to the Houston-based Callisto Quartet.



Comprising violinists Johannes Marmen and Ricky Gore, violist Bryony Gibson-Cornish and cellist Steffan Morris, the Marmens are former major prize winners at the Bordeaux and Joachim International Chamber Music Competitions.

Comprising violinists Hao Zhou and Lucy Wang, violist Aiden Kane and cellist Tate Zawadiuk, the Vianos are former major prize winners at the Wigmore Hall, Osaka and Fischoff International String Quartet Competitions.

Each of the 1st prize winning quartets will receive CAD $16,000 – plus a number of mentorship and international performance opportunities, including a two year paid residency at the Meadows School of the Arts at the Southern Methodist University.

"What a great week and this is the first time we have had a joint-1st prize ... it's simply how the voting turned out - it was a tie ..." Competition Artistic Director Barry Shiffman has told The Violin Channel.

"And as you saw from the response of the audience here, both these two quartets have a following and are ready to hit the stage ... we're excited by the opportunities we have lined up for them both," he has said.

"This is unbelievable and for us a perfect outcome ... we love the Marmens - we're huge fans of their's ..." Viano String Quartet violinist Hao Zhou, who was also awarded 1st prize at the 2019 Montreal International Violin Competition earlier this year, has told The Violin Channel.

"For me, I just really love performing ... I don't know if i can do without solo playing or without playing chamber music  ... I don't want to decide, I just want to be on stage and perform ..." he has said.

"It is so amazing to share this prize with another quartet and I feel it really acknowledges the ethos of this competition that there is no ideal or perfect 1st prize way of playing ... it's a wonderful acknowledgment that there is not just one way forward," Marmen Quartet violist Bryony Gibson-Cornish has told The Violin Channel.


    • Salvatore Sciarrino String Quartet No. 7
    • Schubert String Quartet No. 15 in G Major - 1st Mvt


    • Thomas Ades - 'The Four Quarters' Op. 28
    • Schubert String Quartet No. 15 in G Major - 1st Movement


The 2019 competition jury comprised: Gillian Ansell, Martin Beaver, Adrian Fung, David Harrington, Nobuko Imai, Philip Setzer and Ursula Smith.

Anderson Career Development awards of CAD $4,000 each were awarded to all seven quartets not selected for this year's Final Round.

The R.S. Williams & Sons Haydn Prize awarded for the 'Best Performance of a Haydn Quartet' was presented to the Marmen Quartet.

The prize for the 'Best Performance of this Year's Newly Commissioned Work', Bright Ferment String Quartet No. 2 by Matthew Whittall, was awarded jointly to the Marmen Quartet and the Viano String Quartet.

Full live-streaming of all rounds from this year's competition available on The Violin Channel.



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