2023-24 Amati Concert Series

2023-24 concert dates available!

The Amati String Instruments will be presented in a concert series featuring various musicians beginning in fall 2023 until spring 2024. 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).

All concerts take place in Convocation Hall (PMB 120, 107 Administration Place) on the USask campus beginning at 3 PM.

General admission and student tickets are on sale now. Season passes are also available.

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

Credit: Luc Robitaille

The Voice of the Cello

Featuring: Stéphane Tétreault, cello & Sandra Murray, piano

Location: Convocation Hall, USask campus

Time: 3 PM

Concert is presented in partnership with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and Prairie Debut.

In Perfect Harmony

Featuring: Penderecki String Quartet
Location: Convocation Hall, USask campus
Time: 3 PM

 
Program:
David Scott (b.1962)
String Quartet No.5 (2022)
*World premiere 
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Quartet in C Sharp Minor, Op.131
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
Pieces for String Quartet (1925)

Echoes of the Baroque

Featuring: Cellist André Micheletti & friends

Renée de Moissac, harpsichord

Joey Zhuang, flute

Véronique Mathieu, violin 

Location: Convocation Hall, USask campus
Time: 3 PM

Program:
F. Geminiani : Sonata in D minor for cello and basso continuo
A. Vivaldi: Sonata no. 8 in A minor for cello and basso continuo
J. S. Bach : Musical Offering, Trio Sonata no. 2

Rawlins Piano Trio

Featuring: Ioana Galu, violin; Sonja Kraus, cello; and Susan Keith Gray, piano

Location: Convocation Hall, USask campus

Time: 3 PM

September 11, 2022

Robert Uchida, violin and Rafael Hoekman, cello

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. 

October 23, 2022

CrossRoute String Quartet

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.

February 5, 2023

Duo Concertante

‘A miracle of knowledge and poetry.’ - Gramophone

Outstanding musicians, champions of new Canadian chamber music, and visionary artistic directors, Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves forge a musical legacy through live performances. 

April 23, 2023:

Robert Koenig, Véronique Mathieu and friends

  • D. Shostakovich: 5 Pieces for violin, viola, and piano
  • C. Debussy: Sonata for violin and piano
  • F. Schubert: Piano quintet ‘Trout’

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. 

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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In the News

University Affairs

USask offers musical time-travel with the Amati strings

December 27, 2022

By: Shauna McGinn

How a set of nearly 400-year-old Italian instruments ended up at the University of Saskatchewan is a story true to the can-do nature of the Prairie province. In 1959, local grain farmer Steve Kolbinson came to the school’s music department with a stunning donation: a viola, cello, and two violins, forming what’s known as the Amati quartet. 

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.