Call for Scores!

Now in its sixth year, the String Quartet Smackdown is a bracketed, tournament-style competition bringing original string quartet compositions head-to-head in front of a live, participatory audience. It’s like NCAA March Madness for the ears!

Every Fall, composers of every experience level from around the globe are invited to submit through an open, no-cost entry process. Following submission, a diverse panel of judges selects sixteen compositions to be performed live at the String Quartet Smackdown, which takes place in February at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX.

A professional string quartet performs the pieces LIVE in front of a two hundred person audience. This performance is broken into four rounds:

   Round 1 (Round of 16): One minute of all sixteen pieces
Round 2 (Quarterfinals): Two minutes of eight pieces
Round 3 (Semi-finals): Three minutes of four pieces
Round 4 (Finals) : Full four minutes of two pieces

The audience uses their cell phones to vote, and their responses appear live on screen. The winner of each bracket moves on in the tournament!
In a riotous – and usually very close – finish, the audience determines the String Quartet Smackdown champion!

ALL sixteen finalists receive a professional studio recording of their piece, and the winner takes home a cash prize!

Our form will be open for applications for the 2021 Smackdown event from September 1, 2020 through December 1, 2020 at 11:59pm CST.

The form is available in four languages: