Rules & Regulations


The Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (SPSQC) is exclusively for String Quartets (ensembles comprising 2 violins, viola, and cello). The SPSQC is open to U.S. and non-U.S. residents provided the age of each musician in the quartet is not more than 19 years on April 25, 2020, and the person is not enrolled in a college degree program.

  • No individual may enter/compete in more than one ensemble.

  • Quartets invited to perform in the Final Rounds must retain original membership and perform the repertoire submitted in the application.

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


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

The Application process for the Preliminary Round must be completed on or before Monday, March 02, 2020.

The SPSQC requires applicants to prepare and submit 3 movements from the string quartet repertoire: One movement from any of Joseph Haydn's string quartets, One movement from the Romantic/Nationalist era, and One movement from the 20th or 21st Century.

Applicants must submit the following:

1. Proof of date of birth for each quartet member.
2. A recent high quality photo (Color or BxW).
3. Application fee of $150 per quartet.
4. The following Videos of unedited recorded music*:

​Video 1: One movement from any of Joseph Haydn's string quartets.
Video 2: One movement from the Romantic/Nationalist repertoire of the 19th and early 20th century,
   OR the Debussy Quartet or the Ravel Quartet,
   OR one movement from a middle Beethoven quartet Op.59, Op.74, Op.95.
      (Op.18 quartets will not be allowed)
   OR one movement from these Schubert quartets: Quartetsatz (D.703), A minor (D.804), D minor (D.810), &  G major (D.887)
Video 3: One movement from the standard 20th or 21st Century repertoire composed after 1925.

*Any questions about accepted repertoire should be directed to the Artistic Administrator.

The Haydn Round will take place on Saturday April 25 beginning at 1pm.

Each invited SPSQC finalist quartet will perform their submitted Haydn movement for the Catalyst Quartet.
Order of performance will be randomly selected by the Artistic Administrator using an online randomizer.

The Final will take place on Saturday April 25 beginning at 2pm.

Each invited SPSQC finalist quartet will perform their submitted Romantic/Nationalist and 20th/21st Century movements for the Catalyst Quartet. Order of performance will be the same as the previous Haydn Round.

2020 Schedule (tbd)

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 by March 16, 2020. 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 25, 2020 beginning with the HAYDN ROUND and concluding with the FINAL ROUND. Each group accepted into the Final Rounds must compete with the same repertoire submitted in the Preliminary Round.

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.


SPSQC2020 - [Quartet's Name] plays [Composer last name]: Composition name, movement no. and tempo marking] + time

Example: SPSQC2020 - Emerson Quartet plays Mendelssohn: Quartet in e minor, Op.44 No.2 mvt I.Allegro assai appassionato  10:30