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Call for Quartets

The 11th annual Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC) will take place on Saturday April 22, 2017 at Sundin Music Hall on the campus of Hamline University. The SPSQC attracts the finest and most talented high school musicians from around the country. We welcome your ensemble's entry and wish you great success at the event.

Prizes Awarded

Quartets selected for the Final Round will compete for prizes. They will be juried and recommended by the renowned DAEDALUS QUARTET.

Gold Medal -- $1,000 cash prize plus 4 hand-made Anderson Music stands

Silver Medal --
$800 cash prize plus 4 Lotus stand lights.

Bronze Medal --
$600 cash prize

Haydn Prize -- $400 for Best performance of Haydn quartet movement

Audience Prize -- Group selected by audience recieves $200

Rules and Application Process

To enter the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, review the competition Rules & Regulations and then click on >>

Submit your digital application


Ray Shows, Administrator
980 Bellows Street
Saint Paul, MN 55118

Email us with any questions you may have:

Previous Repertoire

You may find it helpful to review repertoire of prior year's Competition ensembles.

Preliminary Round: Three video recorded movements are to be submitted by Wednesday, March 01, 2017. A preliminary jury of three prominent chamber musicians from across the U.S. will view separately the uploaded video recordings submitted by candidates for the SPSQC. Using a uniform marking system to rank the ensembles, a minimum of six quartets receiving the highest aggregate scores will be invited to the Haydn and Final Rounds.

Haydn Round: Quartets invited to the SPSQC will have an opportunity to perform a Haydn quartet movement in the Haydn Round event. The best performance will be announced at the Final Round and a Haydn Prize will be awarded. Previous winnners of this round may compete in the event but will not be eligible to win another Haydn Prize. They will be required, however, to submit a Haydn video for the competition.

Final Round: Quartets invited to the Final Round of the SPSQC will be required to perform two movements from their submitted repertory. Ensembles will be asked to choose order of play prior to event date. Each ensemble must be able to provide published scores (no photocopies) for the jury.

After the Final Round, there will be a Prize-awarding Ceremony on stage directed by the Master of Ceremonies. All prizewinners must be at this ceremony to receive their award/s.

The works chosen by the ensembles and stated on the application form will only be considered "approved and accepted" after confirmation by the SPSQC Administrator. Any works deemed inappropriate or not meeting the stated criterion for entering the SPSQC will be excluded from the competition and the quartet will be notified immediately.

Contact the Administrator immediately if you have any questions about repertoire or video requirements.


The Saint Paul String Quartet Competiton (SPSQC) is exclusively for String Quartets (comprising 2 violins, viola, and cello).

The SPSQC is open to all United States residents provided the age of each musician in the quartet is not more than 19 years on April 22, 2017 and not enrolled in a college degree program. No individual may enter/compete in more than one ensemble. Quartets invited to perform in the Final Round must retain original membership.

Competing Quartets may include ONE (1) individual who has previously won a Gold Medal. Previous winners of the Silver and Bronze medals are eligible to compete.

There are three (3) distinct rounds of competition: Preliminary Round, Haydn Round, Final Round.

The Application process must be completed on or before Wednesday, March 01, 2017.

Applicants must submit their SPSQC digital application to Acceptd by the above deadine. It will include:

  1. 1. Proof of date of birth for each quartet member.

  2. 2. A recent high quality photo (Color or BxW).

  3. 3. Application fee of $130 per quartet.

  4. 4. The following 3 VIDEOs of unedited recorded music:

    Video 1: One movement from any of Joseph Haydn's string quartets.
    Video 2: One movement from the romantic or nationalist repertoire of the 19th century,
    OR the Debussy Quartet or the Ravel Quartet,
    OR one movement from a Beethoven quartet,
    OR one movement from a Schubert quartet.
    Video 3: One movement from the standard 20th or 21st Century repertoire.

VIDEO recording preparation:

Each of the three (3) video recordings being submitted to the SPSQC should be recorded as a complete “take” and must not be edited or altered in any way. The SPSQC reserves the right to disqualify applicants entering enhanced or modified recordings. Quartets selected to take part in the SPSQC will be informed on or before March 27, 2016. Subject to the advice of the Invitation Jury, a minimum of six string quartets will be selected to compete.

The SPSQC final rounds will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017 beginning with the Haydn Round and concluding with the Final Round.

Preliminary Round Recording Details:

  • Each ensemble should submit video recordings of their (3) selected movements. The video recording must show all ensemble members at all times. The picture must remain stationary (no panning, fade-in/fade-out or close-up techniques). The ensemble should fill the screen as much as possible. Each movement must be a complete take with no editing. After recording their video, ensembles should upload and name using the following system:

  • SPSQC2016 - [Quartet's Name] plays [Composer last name]: Composition name, movement no. and tempo marking]

    Example: SPSQC2017 - Thoreau Quartet plays Beethoven: Quartet in D major, op.18 no.3 mvt I.Allegro

FRIDAY – 4/15/16

Hotel Check-in
Contact SPSQC Artistic Director upon arrival at your hotel

SATURDAY – 4/16/16

11:00am Ensemble check-in time at Sundin Music Hall
Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University | 1536 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Each group will have an assigned room to warm-up.

11:00am-12:30pm Ensemble rehearsal/sound check in Sundin Music Hall


Competition jury will enter after sound check is completed by all quartets and all competitors have left the Hall.

Competition jury will enter after sound check is completed by all quartets and all competitors have left the Hall.

12:45pm – Webstream of 2016 Competition begins. Audience enters hall.

12:50pm – PRO ARTE QUARTET seated at Jury Table
Artistic Director welcomes quartet. Judging procedure reviewed and jury sheets handed out.

1:00pm – Haydn Round begins
Greeting by Master of Ceremonies – Silvester Vicic.
PRO ARTE QUARTET introduced to audience

1:05pm - Haydn Round Performances

Winner of "Best Haydn Performance" will be announced at the Awards Ceremony (5pm)

2:30pm - Final Round begins
Greeting by Master of Ceremonies
PRO ARTE QUARTET introduced to audience

2:35pm - Final Round Performances
2:35pm – Liedergeld Quartet
2:50pm – Ehrling String Quartet
Break – 5 minutes

4:15pm - Audience members vote for their favorite group.
Jury deliberates and selects Prizewinners

5:00pm - Awards Ceremony
Audience Prize awarded
Haydn Prize awarded
Bronze Medals awarded
Silver Medals awarded
Gold Medals awarded

6:00pm – Program Close

6:30pm – Post Competition Dinner for all competing quartets and their families*
Cossetta (Italian Restaurant in St.Paul) 211 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102

*The Saint Paul String Quartet Competition will provide this meal for the competing quartets. 
Parents and other Family members should plan to pay for their own meals.


The Gold Medal winning Chimera Quartet from Los Angeles celebrate the closing chord of a Gold Medal winning performance. They went on to win First Place in the M-Prize Junior strings division.
Quartet Diamant proudly represented the MYA string porgram this year and went on win Gold at Fischoff
The excellent and prize winning Quartet Degas from Chicago's MIC Academy.
The Pro Arte Stirng Quartet, our 2016 jury, were generous with their time and comments to the competitors after the event. Here there are greeting the Ehrling String Quartet on stage.
Each year Midwest Young Artists sends well prepared and strong playing quartets from Chicago to compete the SPSQC. This year they sent their coach Matthias Tacke of the Vermeer Quartet to help the young Meraki's play their very best!
The Quartets that came to compete in St. Paul were superlative. The level of enthusiasm, preparation, and performance remained high this year.