The International Competition for String Quartet “Premio Paolo Borciani” was created in 1987 by unanimous decision of the City Council of Reggio Emilia, with the aim of honouring Paolo Borciani (1922-1985), founder and first violinist of the great Quartetto Italiano. The Prize has now become one of the most important competitions in the world. It takes place every three years at the Teatro Municipale Valli of Reggio Emilia, promoted and organized by Fondazione I Teatri of Reggio Emilia.
Six out of the past eleven editions had a winner: Keller Quartet (Hungary) in 1990, Artemis Quartett (Germany) in 1997, Kuss Quartett (Germany) in 2002, Pavel Haas Quartet (Czech Republic) in 2005, Bennewitz Quartet (Czech Republic) in 2008 and Kelemen Quartet (Hungary) in 2014. Their career began with winning the Premio Borciani and long tours in Europe, the United States and Japan, offered to the winner as part of the First Prize.
Every year the music program of the Competition includes a contemporary piece for quartet – specially commissioned or chosen from today’s major repertoire – by an important living composer: Marco Stroppa (1994), Luciano Berio (1997), Salvatore Sciarrino (2000), Wolfgang Rihm (2002), Peter Maxwell Davies (2005), Giovanni Sollima (2008), Giya Kancheli (2011), Thomas Adès (2014), Silvia Colasanti (2017).
The jury of experts, specifically selected for each edition, includes world-famous musicians, musicologists, music critics and music organizers.
The International Competition for String Quartet “Premio Paolo Borciani” is organised thanks to the collaboration of Max Mara and is supported by the Chamber of Commerce of Reggio Emilia.