String Quartet Smackdown V:
calling on composers & musicians worldwide!

In its fifth year and slated for yet another highly successful and sold-out performance, Golden Hornet's String Quartet Smackdown is now accepting submissions. This bracketed, NCAA basketball tournament style competition brings original string quartet compositions head-to-head in front of a live, participatory audience. It’s like March Madness for the ears!

Following submission of a composition, a diverse panel of judges will select sixteen compositions as finalists to move on to the live performance “Smackdown,” set to take place Saturday Feb. 23, 2019 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX. Professional string quartet Invoke will perform the sixteen finalist compositions, 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

The audience in attendance determine the winners of each round! The winner of each round moves on in the tournament… and the final champion receives a grand prize of $1,500

All sixteen finalists, including the selected champion, will receive a professional studio recording of their piece for their promotional use

There is no cost to enter or participate. 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.

Please review the FAQ to prepare your submission, and share this information with your composer network worldwide! Good luck!

the 2019 CALL WILL OPEN IN SEPT. 2019, with a dec. 2019 deadline.


Golden Hornet is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, as well as private and corporate donations and grant sources. For more information please visit

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