The first International String Quartet Competition Villa de Mancha Real will be held in July 2020. String quartets from all nationalities will be admitted as long as their members are aged 18 to 35 years old. The submission period will be from 1 February to 31 May.

More information is available on Here are the rules.

It is the first time that the most classical ensemble in classical music has its own international competition in Spain: the string quartet, the four instrumental voices par excellence. It has been over four hundred years that Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes started writing his world famous novel Don Quixote having no desire to call to mind the name of a village of La Mancha. Now, Mancha Real is not a Castilian village like Don Quixote’s, but an Andalusian one near Jaén. The people from Mancha Real are known as mancharrealeños. Our book would start like this: “In a village of Andalusia, the name of which I’ll always have desire to call to mind, there lives a mayoress determined to show the world that in the village of Mancha Real there are loads of talent, hospitality and future. A land of musicians and olive groves, arisen from a ‘spot’ (that is the meaning of ‘mancha’ in English) of pine trees and ‘royal’ (that is what ‘real’ means in Spanish) because centuries ago a king passed by and found solace and sustenance in the village, the former Manchuela de Jaén (Little Spot of Jaén) became the Royal Spot (Mancha Real) of today. And the most royal string quartets, the best of sounds and most beautiful melodies are bound to arise from this land on the foothills of Sierra Mágina.”

The conductor Cristóbal Soler, wo founded the new competirtion says he loves being close to young musicians, because he learns a lot from them. Actually, he is the conductor who collaborates the most with the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (JONDE). “The level of musicians individually in Spain is excellent. However, there are very few chamber music competitions. I think the secret for a good musical education is to master an instrument and, at the same time, have the ability to listen. You are a good musician when you are able to master your instrument while listening to others. Chamber music is the solution. »                                                                                       Michael Thallium

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