String Quartet Smackdown

Frequently Asked Questions

We know! You’ve never heard of an event like this before. You have lots of questions. We’ve probably heard them before. Read on to get all the nitty gritty details you need to feel at ease.

WHEN ARE SUBMISSIONS DUE?

The deadline for all submissions is December 1st, 2019 at 11:59 pm (CST). No submissions will be accepted after this point. Submissions must be completed through the online form.

WHAT IS THE INSTRUMENTATION REQUIRED?

Instrumentation is standard string quartet - two violins, viola, and cello. There are no style constraints.

HOW LONG SHOULD THE COMPOSITION BE? CAN I USE A SELECTION OF A LONGER WORK? DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MY PIECE?

Compositions must be exactly four (4) minutes in length, give or take only a few seconds. If shorter or longer, your piece does not qualify and would either suffer in performance or be cut off before completion.

Your submitted work can be brand new, or a selection from a previous or longer work, so long as it is original -- you must be the author of the work and maintain the rights to the music.

If pulling a selection from a longer piece, please update the score to provide only the appropriate four minute portion, properly edited for this purpose. We strongly suggest that you prepare the score and parts with great care and detail, as your your ability to communicate with the quartet directly will be limited.

When composing, we strongly encourage you to consider the structure of the bracketed structure of the event, particularly the timing, described in the answer to “How Does the Event Work? How Does the Audience Determine the Winner?”

IS THERE A FEE FOR ENTERING? OR A COST IF SELECTED AS A FINALIST? 

There is no cost to enter or participate.

HOW MANY WORKS CAN I SUBMIT?

Only one piece per composer will be accepted.

ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS ON AGE, EXPERIENCE LEVEL, GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN, OR OTHERWISE?

No. Composers of any age, experience level, and background are welcome to submit. There are no geographic constraints - we welcome submissions from around the world.  In particular, we encourage submissions from individuals who identify with historically marginalized and/or underrepresented demographics, especially within the field of classical music. 

WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT TO HEAR WHETHER OR NOT MY PIECE WAS SELECTED AS A FINALIST? WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOLLOWING IF SELECTED?

The composers behind the sixteen pieces selected as finalists will be notified via email by January 7, 2020.

String Quartet Smackdown VI will take place in February 2020 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX. Check our calendar for updates and tickets. The winner will be notified and announced the day following.

Studio recordings will be captured within the week following the event, and then mastered. They will be delivered to composers along with other documentation updates via email by May 1, 2020. 

WILL I RECEIVE FEEDBACK IF I AM NOT SELECTED AS A FINALIST? OR AS THE WINNER?

Please note that as a small organization, we do not guarantee the ability to directly notify you if your piece is not selected as a finalist, nor are we able provide feedback on why your piece may not have been selected. However, we encourage you to continue following the competition's results and applying each year, as our panelists (and their tastes) change.

If selected as a finalist but not as a winner, we will not be able to provide feedback. The live, participatory audience, made up of 200 individuals we are not in any control over, decide which pieces proceed through the competition. We simply post their results and respond accordingly.

DO I NEED TO BE PRESENT AT THE EVENT IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE? 

No. You do not need to be able to attend the live event in order to submit, be selected as a finalist, or chosen as the winner. The quartet may be in contact with you via email if any questions arise during rehearsals, and you’ll have one opportunity for feedback, but otherwise, your piece will be performed as provided upon submission.

CAN I ATTEND STRING QUARTET SMACKDOWN, WHETHER OR NOT I AM A FINALIST? OR WITNESS THE EVENT ONLINE? DO YOU PROVIDE DOCUMENTS TO SUPPORT TRAVEL GRANTS?

String Quartet Smackdown VI will take place in February 2020 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX. Check our calendar for updates.

We absolutely love when composers - particularly the finalists - choose to attend the event. You are more then welcome to do so! We provide one complimentary ticket in the case that you are able to attend, but please note that we are currently not able to cover the costs of airfare, accommodation, or other items associated with your attendance. Upon request, however, we will provide you with documents such as Letters of Invitation or Certificates of Participation that support you in seeking out grants or other avenues of funding which may help you attend.

We aim to provide an online live feed to the sixteen finalists so that they can witness the event if unable to attend in person. However, we do not guarantee that this feed is high quality or delivered properly.

HOW DOES THE LIVE EVENT WORK? HOW DOES THE AUDIENCE DETERMINE THE WINNER?

A professional string quartet performs the sixteen finalist compositions LIVE, in brackets as follows:

Round 1 (Round of 16): One minute of each piece is played
Round 2 (Quarterfinals): Two minutes of each piece is played
Round 3 (Semi-finals): Three minutes of each piece is played
Round 4 (Finals): The entire four minute piece is played

Live announcers will emcee the event. The title of the piece will show on screen while it is performed. After listening to the pieces in each bracket, the live audience in attendance will vote for the winner via text. Their responses appear live on screen. The winner of each round moves on in the tournament, progressing through the brackets in the same fashion. The champion is determined through the same method, between the two final pieces. The full, final bracket with composer names and information on the composers is revealed to conclude the event. If any of the finalist composers are present, they are usually welcome on stage at the end to reveal themselves. You can get a taste of it through this video.

DO I MAINTAIN THE RIGHTS TO MY WORK? WHAT AM I AGREEING TO BY SUBMITTING?

By submitting your piece to Golden Hornet's String Quartet Smackdown, you make the assurance that you have not infringed on any intellectual property rights or copyrights (i.e. you have not "borrowed" any already existing material and called it your own). You also acknowledge that, if selected as a finalist, you will be required to sign an audiovisual release which allows Golden Hornet to record and/or use your likeness, as well as allows Golden Hornet to use and distribute the recording of your submitted piece, particularly as it relates to marketing & promotion of this program, without arrangements regarding compensation. You will maintain the full rights to the score, however, you acknowledge that you will not be able to sell the recording for profit, and must acknowledge the contributions of both Golden Hornet and the performing quartet in any promotional use of the recording. You also acknowledge that, if selected as the champion, you must submit a W9 form (or foreign equivalent) to Golden Hornet in order to receive the prize money, and understand that Golden Hornet will not cover any taxes or fees associated with its distribution. By submitting you agree to these terms and conditions.

IF I AM SELECTED AS A FINALIST, WHAT DOES MY COMMUNICATION WITH THE QUARTET LOOK LIKE? HOW MANY OPPORTUNITIES DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK?

Following early rehearsals, the quartet provides one opportunity to share notes and feedback. We understand that this is not preferable, but we appreciate your patience and understanding in terms of the scope of this event. The quartet pours an incredible amount of time into learning, rehearsing, performing on a whim, and recording in full SIXTEEN new full works in a two month window. There are limits on their time and on our financial resources to compensate them for it. Want to change that? You can donate here!

 

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