Amati instruments will once again be played in Saskatoon

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“This is the only example of a quartet of Amati instruments in the entire country…we are very lucky to have them in playing condition.”

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Nearly four years after they were last presented as a full quartet, the University of Saskatchewan’s Amati Instruments will make an appearance for two public performances this weekend.

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“This is the only example of a quartet of Amati instruments in the entire country…we are very fortunate to have them in playing condition,” said Véronique Mathieu, associate professor of violin at the U of S. and David L. Kaplan Professor of Music. .

Véronique Mathieu rehearses with one of the Amati violins on April 18, 2022.
Véronique Mathieu rehearses with one of the Amati violins on April 18, 2022. Photo by Matt Smith /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon

Handcrafted in Italy in the 1600s, the university’s collection remains one of the few complete Amati string quartets in the world. The set was sold to the university in 1959 by amateur collector Stephen Kolbinson, who wanted the instruments played in Saskatchewan.

“One of his wishes was for these instruments to be heard by the people of Saskatchewan and made available to everyone, because they are so special. He really wanted to integrate them into the general culture, ”said Mathieu.

In collaboration with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, three members of the orchestra will join Mathieu on these historic instruments: concert master and associate violinist Jacqueline Nutting, solo violist Jim Legge and Acting Principal Cellist Scott McKnight, who is also a cello teacher at the U of S.

Scott McKnight, right, rehearses with the Amati cello on April 18, 2022.
Scott McKnight, right, rehearses with the Amati cello on April 18, 2022. Photo by Matt Smith /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon

The concert will feature works by Henry Purcell, Mozart, Haydn, Turinese and Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk.

“We really adapted the program to the instruments themselves,” Mathieu said.

The last time the full quartet was used in a performance was at a memorial concert for former Amati Quartet violinist Marla Cole. Mathieu specified that the former quartet will be honored this weekend.

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“This work by Turina is really fitting to pay homage to the previous Amati Quartet, as it is one of the last works they performed and recorded,” she said.

Skoryk’s piece was also chosen to pay tribute to Ukrainian musicians and the Ukrainian people.

Mathieu said the decision to make the gigs small and intimate was mainly due to the pandemic, but she thinks this type of gig showcases the instruments in the best way.

“These instruments were really meant to be heard in parlor concerts and small venues. I think it’s a really special opportunity for the public to get really close to these instruments and see them well… They are truly special works of art and they are also quite special to hear.

A quartet will perform with Amati instruments at the Diefenbaker Canada Center on April 29, 2022.
A quartet will perform with Amati instruments at the Diefenbaker Canada Center on April 29, 2022. Photo by Matt Smith /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon

Mathieu said she hopes to see new faces at concerts this weekend, to introduce new audiences to these instruments.

“We really hope that some people who may not have heard them before will get a chance to hear them.”

Plans for future performances with Amati instruments include events during Culture Days in the fall and a concert series next year that will feature guest performers.

“We’re really looking forward to playing them more regularly,” Mathieu said.

The Amati instruments will be played in an intimate performance Friday at 6 p.m. and a café-concert Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Diefenbaker Canada Center at the U of S. The Friday show is sold out, but tickets for the Sunday show are available. available at diefenbaker.usask.ca.

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  1. Maestro Tania Miller, originally from Saskatchewan, joins the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor on April 23, 2022.

    SSO’s Spring Concert Offers a Shared Emotional Experience Through Music

  2. The evening of live and local music with Joe Callahan takes place at the Station Arts Center in Rosthern on April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

    Five concerts in and around Saskatoon this month

  3. A new memorial fund has been created in honor of Amati Quartet founder Marla Cole.

    Amati’s Final Concert Launches the Marla Cole Fund

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