2022-23 Amati Concert Series

 NEW

The Amati String Instruments will be presented in a concert series featuring various musicians beginning in fall 2022 until spring 2023. The series has been curated by Dr. Véronique Mathieu (D.Mus), associate professor of Violin and the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music, a position made possible by a $2-million donation from USask alumni Xiaoping (Bob) Xu (MA’92, LLB’17) and Ling Chen (MA’90).

Click the tab with the date you would like to attend to purchase tickets to see information about the artistic guests for each event.

Concert Season Pass Holders will be able to attend all four Discovering the Amatis concerts, as well as invited to a reception with the artists following each performance. 

Musicians Robert Uchida & Rafael Hoekman. (Credit: Prairie Debut)

Robert Uchida, violin and Rafael Hoekman, cello

The event will begin at 3 PM in Convocation Hall (get directions).

Program*:

Fritz Kreisler: “Preludium and Allegro”
Jocelyn Morlock: “Serpentine Paths”
Kodaly: Duo op. 7
Teleman: Fantasia No. 1 for solo violin
Dall'abaco: Capriccio for solo cello
Handel-Halvorsen: “Passacaglia”

Celebrate the versatility and warmth of classical strings with an intimate concert by two principal string players of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Concertmaster Robert Uchida has been applauded for his “ravishing sound, eloquence and hypnotic intensity” by Strings Magazine, while Rafael Hoekman is lauded as a ”rock star of the cello.” Their crowd-pleasing program journeys from traditional favorites through to brilliant contemporary selections inspired by world and folk music. This concert is presented in collaboration with Prairie Debut. Learn more.

*Program is subject to change.

Credit: CrossRoute String Quartet

CrossRoute String Quartet

The event will begin at 3 PM in Convocation Hall (get directions).

Program*:

L. v. Beethoven: Quartet Op. 130
Dinuk Wijeratne “A letter from the After-life” from Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems (2015)

The Crossroute String Quartet is comprised of the Principal string players of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Concertmaster Christian Robinson, Principal 2nd violin HengHan Hou, Principal viola Jonathan Ward, and Principal cello Simon Fryer perform together regularly in the beautiful chamber music setting of Regina’s Government House and throughout the region. Increasingly in demand as a quartet, the members of Crossroute enjoy a rich and varied repertoire of music from the earliest string quartets to the present day, including the first cycle of the complete Beethoven string quartets in the city's history.

*Program is subject to change.

Cellist, Sunnat Ibrahim
Cellist, Sunnat Ibrahim

The event will begin at 3 PM in Convocation Hall (get directions). 

Program*:

Sunnat Ibrahim, cello
Christos Hatzis: Dance of the Dictators for piano trio
Jennifer Higdon: Pale Yellow for piano trio

Sunnat Ibrahim has established himself as an artist of creativity, passion and technical command. He is one of the most prominent cellists to emerge from the Central Asian republics and has performed live and on radio with orchestras such as Shenyang Symphony, Hays Symphony, and Uzbek National Symphony among others.

*Program is subject to change.

Robert Koenig, Véronique Mathieu and friends

The event will begin at 3 PM in Convocation Hall (get directions).

 Program*:

 Christos Hatzis: Coming to
 F. Poulenc: Sonata for violin and piano
 F. Schubert: Trout Quintet

Now in his third decade as a much sought-after performing artist, Saskatchewan-born pianist Robert Koenig has performed throughout the world to great acclaim as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician. His partnerships with many of today’s leading classical artists have seen him grace many of the world's most important stages including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s Jordan Hall, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Center, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Taiwan’s National Theater, Hong Kong’s City Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Paris’ Louvre Museum, Brussels’ BOZAR, and Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw. 

*Program is subject to change.

President's Message

“The University of Saskatchewan is proud to be the steward of the unique and exquisite quartet of Amati instruments. Dating back to the 1600s, they were created in Italy by the Amati family, considered one of the world’s first great luthiers.

This cherished collection is the pride and joy of the students, staff and faculty in our Department of Music, and one of the many fascinating features of our world-class university. We are privileged to hold these four rare and remarkable instruments for their historic importance and for the learning and research opportunities they offer to our music students and faculty. We are also truly honoured to have the opportunity to share this collection with masterful musicians – professional and amateur alike – for the benefit of our campus community, the city, the province, and the country.

In a truly Made-in-Saskatchewan story, it is interesting to note that USask’s four Amati instruments were originally acquired in the 1950s from former local grain farmer and amateur collector, Steve Kolbinson, who travelled the world to put together his exceptional collection of some of the world’s most sought-after instruments. It was his desire to see that the instruments would be used in ways to benefit the people of the province, and in that spirit, the university is honoured to announce the upcoming series of public performances as we share the Amati quartet for all to enjoy.”

- Peter Stoicheff, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan

Historical Background

The Amati quartet includes a viola, cello, and two violins that were handcrafted in the Italian city of Cremona in the 1600s by members of the famous Amati family. Considered pioneers in the practice of constructing bowed stringed instruments—or the first great luthiers—the Amati family have crafted some of the world's most sought-after instruments.

This collection of rare fine instruments has been assembled by Stephen Kolbinson, a grain farmer from Kindersley, Saskatchewan. Kolbinson developed a passionate curiosity for old Italian instruments, and traveled the world looking for instruments to add to his collection. A close friend of Kolbinson, Murray Adaskin played an important role in the University of Saskatchewan’s acquisition of the Amati instruments in 1959.

  • The 1637 violin made by Nicola Amati previously belonged to a world renowned soloist: Australian concert violinist Daisy Kennedy.
  • Smuggled out of France for safekeeping during the Second World War, the 1627 violin was made by Antonio and Girolamo. It was later owned by the concertmaster of the London Philharmonic in England.
  • Made by Antonio and Girolamo Amati in 1607, the viola was commissioned by the Italian Borghese family, whose head at the time was Pope Paul V. The Borghese family coat-of-arms is painted on the back of the viola.
  • The cello was made in 1690 by Girolamo Amati II, and was lost for decades in an attic in the Earl of Plymouth’s Castle in England, along with other fine instruments. On the back of the cello, a red seal depicts the joint arms of the Earl of Plymouth and the Clive family of India, commemorating an earlier marriage in the family.

Discover the Instruments

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Events

Upcoming Noon Hour Concerts Featuring the University of Saskatchewan Amati String Instruments

In celebration of Culture Days, the Diefenbaker Canada Centre (DCC) is partnering with the Department of Music to host noon-hour concerts on:

  • Wednesday, September 28, 12:15 pm in the lobby of the DCC
  • Friday, October 7 12:15 pm in the lobby of the DCC

This concert will showcase faculty members playing the two Amati violins and is sure to be a music lover’s delight! Following the concert, you will have an opportunity to view the Amati instruments and tour the Diefenbaker exhibit gallery. Admission is FREE. 

For more information, please contact the Diefenbaker Canada Centre by phone (306-966-8384) or email dief.centre@usask.ca.

In the News

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

University of Saskatchewan’s Amati instruments reunite for two concerts with new performers

April 27, 2022       

By: Jocelyn Bennett

Nearly four years after they were last presented as the full quartet, the University of Saskatchewan’s Amati instruments will emerge for two public performances this weekend.

“This is the only example of a quartet of Amati instruments in the whole country. We’re very lucky to have them in playing condition,” said Veronique Mathieu, U of S associate professor of violin and the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music.