Discovering the Amatis II sees Crossroute String Quartet perform on rare instrument collection

The second concert of the University of Saskatchewan’s new series celebrating its historic quartet of Amati String Instruments takes place on October 23rd.

USask’s four Amati instruments were acquired over a five-year period in the 1950s by Saskatchewan farmer and amateur collector Steve Kolbinson. (Photo: Dave Stobbe)

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is excited to present the second concert of Discovering the Amatis, a new four-concert series launched in September that showcases its historic collection of Amati string instruments. While the opportunity to hear any of the Amati instruments is rare, hearing a concert performed on the only complete Amati quartet in all of Canada is even more so. Regina’s Crossroute String Quartet will perform on all four Amati instruments this October 23rd at Convocation Hall.

The opening concert of Discovering the Amatis featured a violin and cello of the quartet, Amati gems created in 1637 and 1690. In this second concert, the previous instruments are joined onstage by the 1627 violin and 1607 viola, the latter of which is the oldest and rarest of the Amati String Instruments. Audience members will have the chance to see the beautiful crest painted on the back side of the viola, and will hear both instruments in action.

“We are so excited to feature a professional string quartet playing all four of these unique instruments at this second concert,” says Dr. Véronique Mathieu (DMus), Associate Professor of Violin and David L. Kaplan Chair in Music and the creative force charged with showcasing the historic instruments. “The Crossroute String Quartet members will have the opportunity to get to know each instrument, and to share that special experience with the audience in real-time.”

Blending old and new in many ways, the program features Beethoven’s 1826 String Quartet No. 13 in Bb (his fourteenth quartet in order of composition), and a 2015 work composed by Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne. Wijeratne’s program notes describe “Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems” as his “own kind of ‘collision of old and new,” works in which he integrates the beauty and meaning of vintage poems with the loops and grooves of modern pop music. “A letter from the After-life” takes its inspiration from the ancient Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1048–1131).

Crossroute String Quartet is comprised of the principal string players of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, violinist and RSO concertmaster Christian Robinson, violinist HengHan Hou, violist Jonathan Ward, and cellist Simon Fryer. Increasingly in demand as a quartet, Crossroute performs regularly at Regina’s Government House and throughout the region, having recently performed the first cycle of the complete Beethoven string quartets in Regina's history. The quartet members share a rich and varied repertoire of music from the earliest string quartets to the present day, and are deeply committed to fostering the development of the next generation of chamber musicians. Crossroute serves as resident faculty at the Regina Summer Strings program and each member maintains a rich teaching studio.

 Student ($10), adult ($35) and season pass ($150) tickets are available via Eventbrite. For more information about the concert series, including programs for upcoming events, visit the USask Amati website.

Share this story