[ Alumni Announcement ]

Viano String Quartet Wins First Prize At Banff

September 12, 2019

The Los Angeles based Viano String Quartet (Norfolk ’17, ’18) and UK based Marmen Quartet have been awarded joint First Prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition — a first in the history of the competition.

“This is unbelievable and for us a perfect outcome … we love the Marmens — we’re huge fans of their’s …” says Viano violinist Hao Zhou, who was also awarded 1st prize at the 2019 Montreal International Violin Competition earlier this year.

After seven days of competition, the two quartets won from a field of 10 competing ensembles from around the world.  The Viano and Marmen will each receive a $16,500 cash prize, and will share concert tours of over 40 major markets in Europe and North America, a creative residency at Banff Centre for recording opportunities, as well as coaching and mentorship opportunities including a two-year paid residency at the Meadows School of the Arts at 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 …” explains competition Artistic Director Barry Shiffman.

For over 30 years, the Banff International String Quartet Competition has celebrated the art of chamber music while providing career support for emerging string quartets.  Originally planned as a one-time special event, the first competition was held in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The outstanding success of the first competition inspired organizers to make it a triennial event.

Of the 12 Banff Competitions, four Norfolk Alumni quartets have won First Prize: the Rolston, TinAlley, St. Lawrence, and Miró Quartets. Other Norfolk Alum prize-winners of the competition are the Lydian, Cavani, Cassatt, Ying, Tesla and Callisto Quartets, as well as two of our Faculty quartets: the Keller and the Dover Quartet (coming to Norfolk in 2020).

Formed in 2015 at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where they are Ensemble in Residence through the 2020-21 season, the Viano String Quartet (Hao Zhou and Lucy won, violin – Aiden Kane, viola – Tate Zawadiuk, cello)  has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, SOKA Performing Arts Center, and the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts. During the 2019-20 season the quartet makes several important debuts: in New York City, on the Schneider Concerts series; in Beijing, at the Beijing International Chamber Music Festival; and in Vancouver, for the Vancouver Chamber Music Society.