The University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet performs on 17th century instruments crafted by the Amati family of Cremona, Italy, and collected by the late Stephen Kolbinson, one of Saskatchewan’s first homesteaders. The quartet of instruments (two violins, a viola and a cello) is unique in Canada, and one of only three sets in the world. In 1959, the collector sold the instruments to the University of Saskatchewan with the deep desire that these rare gems be shared with the people of Saskatchewan. Appointed by former university president Peter MacKinnon in August 2003, the members of the Amati Quartet are honoured to both represent the University of Saskatchewan and to bring to fruition the dreams of the visionary collector, Kolbinson.
The Amati Quartet made its international debut in 2005 with four concerts in Holland during the Amati 500th Festival celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andrea Amati. The quartet delighted audiences in Rome and Cremona, Italy in 2006.
The Amati Quartet performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in front of 11,000 spectators at the Lieutenant Governor’s Celebration of the Arts Gala held in honor of Saskatchewan’s 100th Anniversary in 2005, and were honored to perform as guest artists with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra celebrating their 75th anniversary. They have given premier performances of commissioned string quartets and have been recorded and broadcast by CBC radio.
Now in its eleventh season the Amati Quartet continues to champion the music of Joseph Haydn, the creator of the string quartet genre, whilst rejoicing in all of the vast and rich repertoire for the string quartet, and indulging in diverse chamber music repertoire with guest performers.