A Platform supporting the European circulation of the new generation of professional string quartets: opportunities of paid concerts and videos, development of outreach / special projects through online trainings and artistic residencies, networking with 17 international cultural institutions
BENEFITS FOR THE SELECTED STRING QUARTETS
- The opportunity to showcase both the quartet’s profile and the outreach / special projects at international level through a dedicated platform;
- A minimum of 3 paid opportunities to perform the outreach / special project abroad per participant quartet, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme and offered by the member concert societies and festivals, including travel and accommodation expenses;
- 1 “test concert” (first test of the outreach / special project in front of an audience) performed at the end of the artistic residency / on-site training;
- Video teaser of the outreach / special project developed by the quartet;
- Showcase of the quartet’s work online, at international level, and especially with the 18 concert organizers participating in the Comitato AMUR, B & M Theocharakis Foundation, Beogradska Umetnička Nova Teritorija, Cadenza Arts Management Ltd., Kolarac – Zadužbina Ilije M. Kolarca, Belgrade, Lofoten Internasjonale Kammermusikfest, ProQuartet – Centre européen de musique de chambre, Qendra EVENT, and Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam;
- The possibility to be selected to perform extra-EU concerts taking place in the UK, in Switzerland, China and the USA;
- Online training in order to help them reach a broader audience and have increased business opportunities;
- Free access to the 5-day artistic residency in an historic house located in Europe, with accommodation, meals, travels and video recording expenses covered, plus an on-site mentoring tutor to support the on-site training;
- Free participation to an online training on environmental sustainability in connection to their specific work (ISO 20121, Events Sustainability and Carbon Footprint);
- The enhancement of professional and personal international exchanges: musicians will have the possibility to network with other string quartets during the above-mentioned networking meeting in Amsterdam, with cultural professionals and music operators beyond their own networks and countries;
- The opportunities to perform in renowned cultural cities, concerts institutions and festivals abroad;
- The access to a European map of “categories of professionals” (e.g. luthiers, accountants, videomakers, recording rooms, etc.) necessary for a professional quartet, that can support the string quartets’ career development through their work.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CALL FOR APPLICATION
Be one of the 38 string quartets of MERITA
Each selected quartet will get free access to online training on one specific topic and to a 5-day training in presence (artistic residency) in order to develop an outreach / special project based on the topic.
The outreach / special projects will be developed on the following topics (see Appendix 1 for further details):
- Music and other arts
- How to organize and perform a concert in unusual forms and spaces – breaking the spell around classical music
- Disabilities, interaction between professional musicians and fragile communities
- Beyond a concert experience – string quartets turning concert hall into (multimedia) theater
- Chamber music for young audience
- Music as Intercultural Dialogue
- Music, Space and Place
The list of topics has been developed according to the training organizations’ expertise and the producing organizations’ needs and desires.
Each quartet will be asked to express two topic preferences that it is interested to deepen, according to its attitudes; then each quartet will be asked to develop one topic, with a specific program and identity.
The project will then be showcased through videos and texts on the MERITA platform, and each quartet will obtain a minimum of 3 opportunities of employment for circulating the project at international level. The selected quartet joins the MERITA platform activities between March 2023 and August 2025.
An Artistic Committee formed by Le Dimore del Quartetto (Italy), Comitato AMUR (Italy), B & M Theocharakis Foundation (Greece), Beogradska Umetnička Nova Teritorija (Belgrade Artistic New Territory – BUNT), Belgrade (Serbia), Cadenza Arts Management Ltd. (Hungary), Julian Cochran Foundation (Poland), Kolarac – Zadužbina Ilije M. Kolarca (Serbia), Lofoten Internasjonale Kammermusikkfest (Norway), ProQuartet – Centre européen de musique de chambre (France), Qendra EVENT (Alabia), Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam (Netherlands), and University of Arts of Tirana (Albania) screens the applications and selects the 38 string quartets to take part in the project.
Training and capacity building activities
Once selected one specific topic, each string quartet will be asked to develop outreach / special projects to be proposed to concert societies and festivals.
The training and capacity building activities will be held to support the selected string quartets in developing these outreach / special projects:
- On-line training (available between July 2023 and October 2023) are useful online tools accessible to each selected string quartet on the MERITA digital platform. Each quartet will have to complete the training on demand, by referring to online materials that have been created by training member organizations specifically to help quarters to build up the outreach / special project.
- After finishing the on-line training, on-line meetings are organized between a trainer and each string quartet in order to decide how the outreach / special project will be refined during the following on-site training. Together, they will also define the on-site training structure and program.
- On-site artistic residencies (5 days to be agreed in the period from September / October 2023 to April 2024) are held in historic houses in Europe. The hosting houses are mostly part of the European Historic Houses network.
The artistic residency lasts 5 days: in this period, the musicians have the opportunity to refine the outreach / special project developed during the online training.
During each artistic residency, the trainer from the training member organization will be supporting on-site the musicians in the realization of the outreach / special project.
The residency ends with a “test” concert, a part of the training programme allowing musicians to put into practice their outreach / special projects. They therefore should not be understood as paid concerts.
Expenses for the accommodation are covered; an extra contribution to the daily allowance and travel of the quartet will be given by the training member organizations.
- Moreover, an extra online training on ISO 20121, Events Sustainability and Carbon Footprint, lasting 3-4 hours, is foreseen for all the selected quartets to increase their awareness on environmental sustainability in connection to their specific work.
Training and capacity building member organizations: B & M Theocharakis Foundation (Greece), experimentadesign – Associação para a Promoção do Design e Cultura de Projecto (Portugal), Julian Cochran Foundation (Poland), Kolarac – Zadužbina Ilije M. Kolarca (Serbia), ProQuartet – Centre européen de musique de chambre (France), Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam (Netherlands), University of Arts of Tirana (Albania).
Concerts production and organization
After the completion of online and on-site training, the presentations of the 38 innovative outreach / special projects developed by the string quartets are uploaded on the MERITA digital platform.
Each concert society, institution and festival member organization can choose its favorite outreach / special project proposal, and hires the string quartets for performing at least 3 concerts in its seasons, festivals or concert series, between February 2024 and August 2025.
Each string quartet will receive a cachet of €4.000 per concert, inclusive of all taxes and social costs. For each concert, an extra contribution to travel and daily allowance of the quartet will be given by the hiring member organizations.
Concert society, institution and festival member organizations: Comitato AMUR (Italy), B & M Theocharakis Foundation (Greece), Beogradska Umetnička Nova Teritorija (Serbia), Cadenza Arts Management Ltd. (Hungary), Europa Nostra (Netherlands), Kolarac – Zadužbina Ilije M. Kolarca (Serbia), Lofoten Internasjonale Kammermusikkfest (Norway), ProQuartet – Centre européen de musique de chambre (France), Qendra EVENT (Albania), Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Moreover, 4 concerts are planned in non-EU countries (Usa, China, UK, Switzerland): the Platform members will select 4 string quartets that stood out during the project period in terms of performances, artistic vision and potential of growth.
Specifically, a score will be assigned to each string quartet, evaluating some specific aspects, such as: musical skills, empathy with the audience, interest toward the explored topics and their application, ability to develop meaningful outreach / special projects, organizational skills also in terms of environmental management.
The cachet for each of these extra-EU concerts is €4.000, inclusive of all taxes and social costs; an extra contribution to the daily allowance and travel of the quartet will be given by Le Dimore del Quartetto.
Lastly, the 38 selected string quartets will be involved in on-line networking activities through LinkedIn, to allow musicians and other target groups to meet, exchange and network with each other. String quartets will also get the opportunity to attend a networking meeting in presence, organized specifically for them in Amsterdam during the Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam in January 2024.
All the activities will be held in English.
On-site training: accommodation for each string quartet will be provided within the Historic house, no accommodation expenses are required from the quartets. An extra contribution to the daily allowance and travel of the musicians will be given by the training member organizations.
Concerts: each string quartet will receive a cachet of €4.000 per concert, inclusive of all taxes and social costs. An extra contribution to the daily allowance and travel of the quartet will be given by the hiring concert societies and festivals member organizations.
ELIGIBILITY, APPLICATION PROCESS AND PROGRAMME RULES
- The MERITA Call for application is exclusively addressed to String Quartets whose members play permanently together.
- The Call is open to ensembles based in countries eligible for the Creative Europe programme: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine.
N.B. individual musicians do not necessarily have to be of these nationalities, but they have to be permanently based in these countries.
- The string quartet undertakes to commit to the MERITA project for the entire duration of the project (3 years, until to the end of the project on August 31st, 2025).
- The average age of the quartet should be maximum 35 years old (at the time of the application).
- Participant quartets should plan to keep the same four members over years.
- Musicians of the string quartet have already demonstrated to have all the artistic and technical qualities, as well as the vision, that are necessary to develop an international career: this has been recognized by chamber music operators as well as by audiences, and can be proved through the quartet’s CVs (including the concert societies for which the quartet has performed, the prizes received at national and international competitions, the educational path), audio-video recordings and letters of recommendation from senior chamber musicians.
A MERITA Q&A Zoom call for clarifying any doubts prior to the application is scheduled on Tuesday, November 15th, 11 am GMT+1 time.
Applications must be sent by email at [email protected] no later than Thursday, December 15th 2022 at 11.59 pm GMT+1 time, specifying in the email subject “APPLICATION FOR MERITA – NAME OF THE QUARTET”.
Applicants must submit the following materials:
- Professional CV of the quartet, with description of studies and career, including links to website and social media (if any);
- A brief video, in vertical format, answering these following questions (Max 2 minutes per question):
- How would you define your quartet in three or four words?
- Which of the above-mentioned topics are you more interested in and why? (Please choose 3 out of 7 topics and rank them in order of preferences)
- Why should the MERITA Platform select you?
- Links to performing videos (not older than two years);
- Pictures that well represent the quartet, indicating when they have been taken
- Identity document of each member in order to prove the dates of birth, nationalities and residential addresses;
- Any additional attachment / information useful to evaluate the application;
- (optional) 1 or more letters of endorsement to reinforce the quartet’s abilities and qualities, from relevant institutions, Maestros, and significant personalities in the music and cultural fields.
If you are sending large attachments, please use WeTransfer and incorporate the WeTransfer link in the application email.
Please note that incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.
Admission to the MERITA Platform will be decided by the Artistic Committee at its sole discretion; the results of the selection process will be communicated to all the applicants by Wednesday, February 1st, 2023. We will ask the selected quartets to confirm their participation within 7 days from the official communication of selection, so no later than Wednesday, February 8th. Please note that, once confirmed their participation, musicians cannot withdraw from the MERITA programme, unless it is for justified health reasons. In case of annulment of their commitment after having confirmed, the quartet will pay a penalty equal to € 1.200.
By submitting their applications, all the quartets’ members confirm to have carefully read this call for applications and the MERITA programme rules, and to accept all the conditions specified therein. Once selected, all the selected quarters’ members will be asked to sign a regulation form.
A MERITA Q&A Zoom call for clarifying any doubts post-selection is scheduled on Monday, February 6th, 11 am GMT+1 time.
For any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] specifying the email subject “INQUIRIES FOR MERITA – NAME OF THE QUARTET”.
OVERVIEW ON THE MERITA PROJECT
MERITA – where chamber Music, cultural hERItage and TAlent meet is an online and offline platform aiming at increasing the visibility and circulation of European string quartets while promoting European cultural heritage.
MERITA develops in three areas – training, production, research – and it is founded upon the principles of innovation, training and development, promotion and sustainability.
The main goal will be achieved through 4 specific objectives:
- To innovate the chamber music industry functioning, by matching the music institutions’ requests with the quartets’ attitudes, therefore creating new job opportunities for young musicians.
- To enhance training and capacity building for young chamber music artists on how to expand, internationalize and consolidate their careers effectively.
- To foster production and circulation of chamber music in Europe and beyond, through original outreach / special projects.
- To promote a sustainable business model bringing together young chamber music artists, audiences and cultural heritage (European historic houses and sites), fostering best practices exchange and competitiveness for artists, audience engagement and development, environmental sustainability and awareness.
These specific objectives will be reached through the MERITA digital platform as well as through a rich panel of online and onsite activities, i.e. trainings, artistic residencies, transnational and international circulation of the young artists, studies and researches.
The project is co-financed by the European Union – European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and is represented by Le Dimore del Quartetto, based in Milan, Italy, as lead and coordinator of 16 organizations (Platform Members) from 12 European countries:
- Comitato AMUR, Milan (Italy)
- B & M Theocharakis Foundation, Athens (Greece)
- Beogradska Umetnička Nova Teritorija (Belgrade Artistic New Territory – BUNT), Belgrade (Serbia)
- Cadenza Arts Management Ltd., Budapest (Hungary)
- EuAbout Lab ASBL – European Association for Research, Educational, Cultural and Social Innovation, Bruxelles (Belgium)
- Europa Nostra, The Hague (Netherlands)
- European Historic Houses, Bruxelles (Belgium)
- experimentadesign – Associação para a Promoção do Design e Cultura de Projecto, Lisbon (Portugal)
- Julian Cochran Foundation, Warsaw (Poland)
- Kolarac – Zadužbina Ilije M. Kolarca, Belgrade (Serbia)
- Lofoten Internasjonale Kammermusikkfest, Oslo (Norway)
- ProQuartet – Centre européen de musique de chambre, Paris (France)
- Qendra EVENT, Tirana (Albania)
- Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- Traces&Dreams, Stockholm (Sweden)
- University of Arts of Tirana (Albania)