Performance schedule 2014-2015
The University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet performs on four rare string instruments crafted in Italy in the seventeenth century by members of the Amati family. Experience these exquisite Amati instruments in the spectacular setting of their new home at Knox United Church on October 13th, November 15th, January 10th, and March 21st - with Marla Cole (violin), Rudolf Sternadel (violin), Geoff Cole (viola), and Terence Sturge (cello), the musicians of the Amati Quartet, who are now in their twelfth season.
Concerts are at 2:00pm and at 7:30pm at Knox United Church
Tickets available from the Remai Arts Centre box office: (306) 384-7727
October 13th, 2014
Bach - Concerto in C minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043
Vivaldi – Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos, RV531
Bach – Concerto in D minor for two Violins, BWV 1060
Albinoni / Giazotto – Adagio
Dvořák – Serenade for Strings in E major
Season Twelve begins with the second annual Thanksgiving Monday holiday concert devoted to showcasing the young string playing super talent in Saskatoon with double concertos of the baroque repertoire by Bach and Vivaldi, as well as performances of the ever popular Albinoni –Adgaio, and Dvorak -Serenade for Strings.
Most of Bach’s concerti are believed to have been written during his days in the employment of Prince Leopold of Cohen from 1717-1723 where he had 18 very fine musicians to work with. However, Bach changed jobs about six times during his career, and frequently reworked his music into different forms. His transcriptions of concerti for one, two, three, and four harpsichords were originally concerti for strings and winds. The C minor Concerto for Oboe, Violin, and strings – also played as a concerto for two violins was actually originally scored for two harpsichords. Bach was very adept at recycling!
Vivaldi’s concertos were written for the girls who lived at Ospedalle della Pietà in Venice, an orphanage he was associated with for four decades. This virtuosic concerto is the only double cello concerto that Vivaldi wrote – but what an electrifying example of duelling cellos! The cellos play in canonic imitation, harmonize with each other, play in unison, trade melodic phrases, and sometimes accompany each other in this sizzling stand out amongst his hundreds of other concerti.
In our current world where it seems we can find a Starbucks or Tim Hortons within reach of almost every street corner, coffee houses are an accepted cultural phenomenon. However, in 18th century Germany the café was a new and fashionable destination! In 1729 despite his many duties of work and family (at least 22 children) Bach found the time to work with university students and professionals in a local Collegium Musicum that performed every Friday evening in Zimmerman’s coffee house. Bach’s programs included works by other composers, as well as his own, and also included solo and chamber music works. The D minor Concerto for Two Violins, composed during this time, is one of Bach’s greatest and most sublime creations. It is the perfect synthesis of concerto and fugue conceived in purely violinistic terms.
The easily recognizable ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’, used prolifically in films, television and popular music since the 1960’s was not actually written by Albinoni! The composer was in fact an Italian musicologist named Remo Giazotto who claimed to have discovered a tiny fragment of a manuscript by Albinoni. In 1958 he published “Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ, on Two Thematic Ideas and on a Figured Bass by Thomaso Albinoni”. Giazotto rarely gets credit for his famous work, and Albinoni would not recognize it as his own!
The Serenade for Strings, one of Dvořák’s most popular orchestral works, was composed in just two weeks in 1875. This was a happy time for Dvořák – newly married, a new father, and a composer who was beginning to be noticed – he received a generous grant from a commission in Vienna which provided a stable income. This charming five movement work is a feel good piece for both the player and the listener, describing gracious and elegant aristocratic living.
November 15th, 2014
Haydn – String Quartet in C major, Op. 76, No 3, ‘The Emperor’
Mendelssohn – String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 12
Smetana – String Quartet in E minor, ‘From My Life’
Haydn professed his reverence to the Emperor Francis, Mendelssohn summoned inspiration from unrequited love and from the string quartets of Beethoven, and Smetana wrote an autobiography –these composers bared their own souls to compose some of the greatest gems of the string quartet repertoire.
The name ‘The Emperor’ is given to Haydn’s C major quartet due to the use of the melody “God Save Emperor Francis” in the second movement’s set of variations. This same melody that Haydn wrote for Emperor Francis II eventually became the current German national anthem, and remained one of the composer’s most favorite tunes.
Mendelssohn was inspired by Beethoven’s string quartets and the unrequited love of a singer, noted by the dedication to Betty Pistor, when he wrote his second string quartet. There are clear thematic resemblances between the first movement’s Adagio introduction and Beethoven’s Op. 74’ and the Allegro non tardante with Beethoven’s Op. 127. The famous Canzonetta movement is pure Mendelssohn with its’ fleeting figuration in the middle section. The serious mood of the Andante espressivo might owe something to late Beethoven, but could also represent the composer’s feelings for Betty Pistor. The finale recalls themes from first movement and ends sweetly.
Smetana’s only string quartet is both autobiographical and programmatic. The music relates to his early artistic ambition, his enthusiasm for dancing, his love for his first wife, and the catastrophe of his deafness. Smetana wrote: ‘’The four instruments should converse together in an intimate circle about the things which so deeply trouble me.’’
January 10th, 2015
Haydn – String Quartet in C major, Op. 20, No. 2
Mozart – String Quartet in B flat, K.458, `The Hunt`
Debussy – String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
Haydn’s Op. 20 quartets mark a monumental stage in the creation of the string quartet genre with the achievement of the four voices as equals. Mozart’s ‘Hunt’ quartet is one of the set of six that he dedicated to Haydn – the composer that he held in highest esteem. Influenced by visual art, literature, and the 1889 Paris Exposition, Debussy brings a kaleidoscope of new colors to the string quartet palette of sounds.
The six Op. 20 quartets mark a monumental stage in the creation of the string quartet genre by Haydn. In Quartet No. 2 the four voices are now equals, with the cello even taking the lead in several movements. The famous Capriccio is a fantasia reminiscent of operatic arias and recitatives. The finale, a brilliant fugue with four separate themes woven together, is a brilliant innovation of the art of counterpoint with the flow of accompanied melody. This is a diamond sitting amongst the other precious jewels of Op. 20.
‘The Hunt’ is a posthumous nick-name based on the suggestion of the sound of the hunting horn in the opening of the lively first movement of the Mozart’s Quartet in E flat composed in 1785. One of the set of six quartets dedicated to Haydn, it was written to honor the composer that Mozart held in the highest esteem.
Debussy’s entire string quartet is based upon the theme that is presented in the very first measure. The kaleidoscope of colors and contexts in which this theme is heard in the other movements is a testament to Debussy’s ingenuity. Influenced by visual art, literature, and the Javanese gamelan orchestra, heard at the 1889 Paris Expo, Debussy created an entirely new palette of sounds in his first chamber music work which was his only string quartet.
March 21st, 2015
Guest Artist: Samuel Deason - piano
Schubert – Quartet in D minor, D.810, `Death and the Maiden`
Shostakovich – Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
The final concert of the season will demonstrate the power and relevance of classical music in modern times with guest artist -the young and electrifying pianist Samuel Deason - performing the Piano Quintet by Shostakovich paired with Schubert`s String Quartet `Death and the Maiden’.
The poem ‘Death and the Maiden’ by Matthias Claudius inspired Schubert to compose both a song, and his powerful string quartet in D minor. The melody of the song is used in the set of variations which constitutes the second movement. Fiercely insistent rhythms pervade the other three movements reinforcing the somber message of the mortality of man.
Impressed with his first string quartet, the Moscow based Beethoven Quartet asked Shostakovich to write a Piano Quintet featuring Shostakovich himself at the piano. The immensely successful quintet was rewarded with the Stalin Prize – a cash reward of 100,000 rubles often cited as the largest sum commanded by a chamber music work. Despite the reward Shostakovich was always looking over his shoulder, and with good reason. Written in 1940, a year after the onset of the second world war there is a sense of foreboding and intensity with extremes of melancholy and excitement.
Guest Artist Bios
Arthur Boan is a Saskatoon-born violinist, vocalist and actor. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at the University of Saskatchewan in the studio of Professor Robert Klose. Since high school, Arthur has been a violinist with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. His chamber experiences include performances with the Amati Quartet, Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra, Elixir Ensemble, Prairie Virtuosi, 3-Directions Piano Trio, Il Divo, Canadian Tenor Ken Lavigne, and various other professional and academic ensembles. While he was Concertmaster of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra (2012) he won their annual Concerto Competition which gave him the opportunity to perform Lalo’s Symphony Espagnole with the SYO. Arthur has been heavily involved in Saskatoon’s musical theatre community, performing roles such as Ralph Rackstraw (HMS Pinafore), Annas (Jesus Christ Superstar), and Enjolras (Les Miserables). He has been a regular competitor in Music Festivals in violin and voice at local, provincial and national levels. He was a recipient of the Dilys and Eric Burt Memorial Scholarship from the SSO as well as the David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship awarded by the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Music.
William Boan is an accomplished musician with extensive training in solo, chamber, and orchestral violin performance. He is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. He has been the Concertmaster of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and Saskatchewan Provincial Honour Orchestra for three years. In 2014, William was accepted into the Meadowmount Summer Music Institute, New York, where he studied with Juilliard professor Sally Thomas. For two years, William has been the provincial champion for senior strings, and has twice placed third in the Provincial Music Festival's Grand Awards Competition. William was the 2013 winner of the Kinsmen Competition, Saskatoon's most prestigious competition. He is the recipient of numerous awards, both at the local and provincial levels. He currently studies violin at the University of Saskatchewan, in the studio of Robert Klose.
Austin Castle has been playing the violin for 10 years and just received his Grade 10 Violin from the Royal Conservatory of Music this past June. Austin is a frequent performer in his home town of Swift Current as well as in other venues in southwestern Saskatchewan. Austin is currently enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan and is working towards a degree in Geophysics. He is also taking private lessons from Amati Quartet first violinist Marla Cole. Austin also enjoys working as a fiddle instructor and performer throughout Saskatchewan and Western Canada.
Hans Deason is an avid cellist in the Saskatoon community. He has studied cello under Bernadette Wilson for the past 16 years. Hans has taken part in the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Music Festivals and has achieved first place at both regional and provincial levels. Hans has spent much time involved with various educational and professional ensembles over the years. Hans is attending the University of Saskatchewan and is studying Mechanical Engineering and is currently undertaking his third year of studies. While not pursuing music as a career, he enjoys and values every opportunity to share his talents.
Canadian Pianist Samuel Deasonhas distinguished himself as a fearless musician having made his debut in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2 under Peter Oundjian as the first concerto performance in Koerner Hall’s inaugural season in Toronto. Prizewinner in the Aram Khachaturian International Piano Competition, Samuel took first prize in the Lyell Gustin, Gordon Wallis, and Florence Bowes competitions. He has furthermore garnished awards in the TSO National Piano Competition, Shean Piano Competition, Wideman Piano Competition, and the Minnesota Orchestra’s WAMSO Concerto Competition where he received the distinction of "best pianist". He is a finalist of the 2013 Ferrucio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
Samuel Deason's recent engagements include performance in the world premiere of R. Murray Schafer’s Spirits of the House as part of Koerner Hall’s opening ceremony, performance of Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto with the Saskatoon and Regina Symphony Orchestras, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the “Mihail Jora” Philharmonic Orchestra in Como, Italy, and a performance of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations for the Master Piano Recital Series in Ottawa.
In the 14/15 season Mr. Deason’s performances include Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet with the Amati Quartet, a recital including his own composition Rosebud Variations for the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in Hamilton. He will also present a recital for the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago broadcast live on WFMT 98.7fm. An upcoming CD of his performance of Lindsay Stetner’s concertino Fragments of Time will be released on the University of Regina record label.
Samuel has studied with Bonnie Nicholson in Saskatoon, Marc Durand and Leon Fleisher at the Glenn Gould School, and Robert McDonald at the Banff Centre. Born in 1988 in Saskatoon, he now resides in Indiana, learning under the likes of the legendary Menahem Pressler.
Solveig Deason, age fourteen, is a passionate violinist, pianist and vocalist. Having always shown a great interest in music, she began studying violin at the age of four, with piano and voice following shortly after. Solveig performed with the Saskatoon Strings for several years including many solo performances on violin as well as a vocal duet. She has competed at the Saskatoon Music Festival in all three disciplines since a very young age where she has been pleasantly rewarded with a great deal of certificates and scholarships each year. Solveig has performed violin at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Luther Tower and in the worship band at her school as well as in countless studio recitals over the years. Solveig has received high honours in her Royal Conservatory of Music exams, including a gold medal for the highest provincial mark in voice. She has completed her grade 8 RCM in piano and violin and grade 6 in voice, as well as Basic Harmony. She continues to study violin with Marla Cole, piano with Bonnie Nicholson and voice with Marilyn Whitehead. Solveig is also an enthusiastic member of the Fireside Singers, currently in her seventh year. Solveig resides in Saskatoon and is a grade 9 student in the Advanced Program at Evan Hardy Collegiate. Her hobbies include basketball, guitar and ukelele.
Saskatchewan-born cellist, Zaïde Masich, is thrilled to perform with the Amati Quartet. Zaïde has appeared on numerous occasions with the Battlefords’ Children’s Choir, the Chapel Gallery Singers, and Kamala Choir under the direction of Diane Gryba and Joanne Kaspar. She has also performed for several other community events in the Battlefords including the Battlefords’ Kiwanis Music Festival where she has earned numerous awards and scholarships. Zaïde has performed with Quatro Corde as well as the International String Ensemble of the Battlefords under the direction of Erin Foreman. Zaïde recently earned First class honors (cello-level 8, piano- level 6) and First class honors with distinction (advanced theory rudiments) through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently pursuing her Grade 10 cello exam. Zaïde continues to study with cellist Terence Sturge who has been her mentor and teacher for the past 11 years. Zaïde was also honored to have a music lesson with cellist, Denise Djokic, while Ms. Djokic was in Saskatoon performing with the SSO. Zaïde enjoys reading, drawing, playing the flute, singing, and is an avid manga enthusiast. She wishes to thank the Amati Quartet for this great opportunity to grow as a musician and to share her love of music with others. Zaïde is grateful to her family and friends for their support!
After obtaining an ARCT in piano performance, Renée de Moissac graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Music in harpsichord performance. She then completed an ‘Advanced Music Performance Studies’ (AMPS) graduate diploma in organ and harpsichord from Concordia University in Montreal, studying with Bernard and Mireille Lagacé. Renée is presently the organist at Christ Church Anglican and the Artistic Director of the ‘Klavier Concerts’ series, presenting solo keyboard music of the Renaissance, Baroque and 20th – 21st centuries, with a special focus on the music of J.S. Bach and of Olivier Messiaen. She is also the music coordinator at St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, where she initiated the ‘Organ Concerts’ series. In 2012-13 Renee was the recipient of a grant to present ‘Four Seasons of French Solo Keyboard Music’ of the French harpsichordists Chopin, Debussy, and Messiaen. Renée is a frequent performer in chamber music and larger ensembles, both in early and contemporary music. She has performed with the Amati Quartet, SSO, Prairie Virtuosi, and was harpsichordist for Purcell’s ‘King Arthur’ co-produced by the Amati Quartet and Saskatoon Opera. Renée has had the pleasure of playing in concert with some of the finest musicians in Saskatoon.
Born in Saskatoon, Heather Wilson began her violin studies at the age of four. She switched to the viola and studied with James Legge until her enrolment in post-secondary education. She has since earned her Masters of Music in viola performance from McGill University where she studied with André Roy, Philip Dukes, and Wolfram Christ. During her post-secondary studies at McGill University, she was the recipient of several scholarships including two Schulich Scholarships, a Maurice Pollack Foundation Scholarship, an Ethel Jamieson Ivey Award, a Dilys & Eric Burt Fund Scholarship from the Saskatoon Symphony, and a Saskatchewan Premier’s Centennial Arts Scholarship. Heather has performed with numerous orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Banff Festival Orchestra, Saskatoon Opera, Prairie Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and is currently a member of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. She has also enjoyed summer master classes at the Orford Arts Centre and the Toronto Summer Music Festival. She has performed as a soloist with the Prairie Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Harmony Chamber Orchestra, and as principal violist of the McGill Symphony Orchestra, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. As an avid chamber musician, Heather began her career with the "Mesh Quartet" which won first place at the Canadian Music Competition finals. Since then, she has appeared as guest artist with the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival, the Amati Quartet, and the Southern Manitoba Concerts series. She has recently been collaborating with Saskatoon pianist Christina Tong, and presenting concerts in the Saskatoon community.
*All repertoire, dates and artists are subject to change