Our call for submissions for Smackdown IV closed on December 1, 2017.

Our call for submissions for Smackdown V will open in September 2018.

We welcome you to begin preparing your piece for Smackdown V by referencing the guidelines below.
While some factors of the process will be subject to change in 2018, these instructions
provide a general understanding of how to structure your piece. 

String Quartet Smackdown IV: Call for Submissions


Calling on composers and musicians worldwide!

In its fourth year and slated for yet another highly successful and sold-out performance, the 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 jury of experts will select sixteen of these compositions to move on to the live performance “Smackdown,” taking place Saturday Feb 10, 2018 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. A professional string quartet (to be announced) will perform the compositions 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 live audience in attendance will be directly involved in the decision process by texting a code to vote for their favorite pieces in each round. The winner of each round moves on in the tournament… and the champion will receive a grand prize of $1,500, plus other items of recognition.

All sixteen finalists including the selected champion will receive a professional studio recording of their piece for their promotional use. All publishing rights will remain property of the composer.

Please share this information with all your composer and musician friends worldwide, and good luck!


Compositions must be four (4) minutes in length, give or take a few seconds. Instrumentation is standard string quartet - two violins, viola, and cello. Only one piece per composer will be accepted. There is no cost to enter.

To submit your composition, please prepare to send the following:

  • A PDF of the score
    - Create using Sibelius or a similar notation program
    - Make sure to name your file Smackdown4_YOURNAME_Score.pdf but please REMOVE your name from within the score itself, so that it cannot be viewed when looking at the score. 
  • An audio file of your composition
    - Either an export of the midi, or an actual MP3 recording if possible
    - Make sure to name this file Smackdown4_YOURNAME_Audio.mp3 or .mid or .wav 
  • Your bio, CV, or resume
    - As applicable to materials for the contest, in PDF format.
    - Make sure to name this file Smackdown4_YOURNAME_Bio.pdf

The combined file size of all your materials should be no more than 15 MB.

Please send with your email subject line as follows: YOURFIRSTINITAL.YOURSURNAME - Smackdown 4 Submission

By submitting your piece for the String Quartet Smackdown IV, you make assurances that:

  1. 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).

  2. You allow Golden Hornet to include audio and/or video footage of your piece in their company materials in perpetuity, for promotional use.

By submitting all materials as listed above to the email address below, you agree to these terms and conditions:



Please ensure you follow the directions provided carefully. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can disqualify you from participation in the selection process.

Whether or not your submission is  selected, you are more than welcome to join us for the event. However, Golden Hornet cannot provide any assistance or funding for travel or accommodations for your stay in Austin.

Any questions? Direct them to the email address above.

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 www.goldenhornetproject.org

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