Annual Competition for Emerging Professional Ensembles

The application portal for the 2022 competition opens October 1!

Click here to submit your competition application.

First Prize – $4,000
Second Prize – $3,000
People’s Choice Award – $500

Since the first Competition in 1985, we have retained a focus widely recognized to be unique among chamber music competitions.  The Competition, as a companion part of a well-established chamber music concert series, intends to foster the development of new chamber music ensembles. Promoting new groups as performing ensembles is an essential part of our goal of sustaining chamber music concert series like ours.  Competitors must perform a 30-minute program of their own choosing, an unedited video-recorded performance, and with all the same ensemble members. Recordings made during the last three years are permissible as long as the video recordings were made with the current ensemble members. Finalists often remark that they greatly appreciate being able to perform music they select rather than being judged on comparative performances of standard repertoire. In this way, we believe we are able to hear our Finalists at their best. Seeking to recognize the best new ensembles with a likelihood of having careers as professionals, our Competition has featured ensembles of differing instrumentation in the majority of our 34 competitions. This approach has proven to be successful with over 50% of our Finalist ensembles still performing today. We look forward to receiving your entry materials and to selecting this year’s Competition Finalists.

For questions regarding the competition, please contact the competition chair, Dr. Jenny Cruz, jcruz@centralstate.edu. 

Click here to submit your competition application.

2021 Competition Winner
Balourdet String Quartet

The Balourdet String Quartet

The Balourdet String Quartet, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is currently in residence at the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Program. The quartet received the Gold Medal in the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Second Prize in the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition.

The Balourdet has shared the stage with renowned artists including Cho-Liang Lin, as well as members of the Dover Quartet. It has studied and performed at festivals including the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, and Accademia Musicale Chigiana. The Balourdet String Quartet works primarily with Paul Katz at the New England Conservatory. The quartet was formed in 2018 at Rice University in Houston, Texas under the tutelage of James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Cho-Liang Lin.

As part of the Fischoff Gold Medal Tour, the Balourdet curated and performed a program for over 500 children in schools across the Michiana region, as well as gave masterclasses through the Fischoff Chamber Music Academy. They have also conducted workshops and masterclasses for string students in the Dallas area and are section mentors for NEC Prep’s String Repertory Orchestra.

The Balourdet String Quartet gets its name from Antoine Balourdet, chef extraordinaire at the Hotel St. Bernard and beloved member of the Taos School of Music community.

The Balourdet String Quartet, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is currently in residence at the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Program. The quartet received the Gold Medal in the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Second Prize in the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition.

The Balourdet has shared the stage with renowned artists including Cho-Liang Lin, as well as members of the Dover Quartet. It has studied and performed at festivals including the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, and Accademia Musicale Chigiana. The Balourdet String Quartet works primarily with Paul Katz at the New England Conservatory. The quartet was formed in 2018 at Rice University in Houston, Texas under the tutelage of James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Cho-Liang Lin.

As part of the Fischoff Gold Medal Tour, the Balourdet curated and performed a program for over 500 children in schools across the Michiana region, as well as gave masterclasses through the Fischoff Chamber Music Academy. They have also conducted workshops and masterclasses for string students in the Dallas area and are section mentors for NEC Prep’s String Repertory Orchestra.

The Balourdet String Quartet gets its name from Antoine Balourdet, chef extraordinaire at the Hotel St. Bernard and beloved member of the Taos School of Music community.