AMICI ENSEMBLE In it's acclaimed concert series, the ensemble is joined by leading Canadian and international guest artists. Amici concerts are events not to be missed; audiences are treated to exciting programs from the great classics of chamber repertoire along with commissioned works by Canadian composers.The repertoire for this combination of instruments is limited, but these innovative artists have overcome this by commissioning new works and by inviting their musical Amici to perform with them, enabling a broad exploration of chamber music.
The first three-concert season was launched in 1988-89 at St Andrews' Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto on a shoestring budget, but with invaluable support from the CBC. The following year brought a change of venue to Walter Hall in the University of Toronto's Edward Johnson Building.In 1993-94 the Ensemble moved again to the new and critically-acclaimed Glenn Gould Studio in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre and within a year its subscription series expanded from three to four concerts. All of AMICI'S concerts are recorded for national broadcast on CBC-Stereo.
Artists performing with AMICI have included Canadians Lois Marshall, Michael Schade, Joanne Kolomyjec, Catherine Robbin, Yehonatan Berick, Steven Dann, James Sommerville, and other international artists such as Shmuel Ashkenasi (Vermeer Quartet), Rivka Golani, Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, John Cerminaro and Douglas Boyd.
At AMICI concerts, world and/or Canadian premières are frequently presented. AMICI has commissioned works by Glen Buhr, Chan Ka Nin, Brian Cherney, John Greer, Ruth Watson Henderson, Henry Kucharzyk, Alexina Louie and John Thrower. Each AMICI concert includes a Canadian work.
As part of an audience development project in 1996-97, AMICI produced two "Cappuccino Concerts", held at Grano Ristorante in Toronto. The venture was supported by The Canada Council, and both events sold out within days. Featured Canadian performers were violinist Erika Raum, Michael Sweeney, bassoon; Larry Weeks, trumpet and Michael Schade, tenor. Both concerts were held at noon on a Sunday and proved to be an excellent venue for a new audience. This season will offer a repeat of this series.
The Ensemble's first CD (AMICI) was issued in the summer of 1993, to critical acclaim. This recording featured Canadian composer Chan Ka Nin's Among Friends, commissioned by AMICI, and received a JUNO in March 1994. AMICI'S second CD was released in 1995, featuring Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time" and another commissioned work by Chan Ka Nin, I think that I shall never see... This CD received two 1996 JUNO nominations, and a Chalmers Award for Best Composition, 1996.
An all-Beethoven CD was released in the spring of 1996, and a fourth CD,"Contrasts" with works by Bartók, Shostakovich and Dohnányi appeared in April, 1997. This disc features Canadian soprano Joanne Kolomyjec in the Shostakovich Seven Poems of Alexander Blok.
Their latest CD, "In Brahms Apartment", includes three of his final chamber works; the clarinet trio and the two clarinet sonatas.
AMICI has toured the Maritimes, Eastern Europe and Mexico; they also continue to perform locally especially in Ontario and Quebec.
Joaquin Valdepeñas - Clarinet
Joaquin Valdepeñas , principal clarinetist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, makes international appearances as soloist, chamber musician and conductor and has performed at festivals throughout the world, including those of Aspen, Banff, Casals, Edinburgh, Mostly Mozart, Vancouver and Nagano, Japan. He has performed with musicians such as Kathleen Battle, Glenn Gould, Cha-Liang Lin, Rudolf Serkin, Richard Stoltzman, and Pinchas Zukerman and has collaborated with the American, Muir and Orford String Quartets, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Commissioning many works by Canadian composers, he recently gave the American premiere of Aria for Clarinet and Orchestra by Michael Colgrass and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Mr. Valdepeñas made his European debut with the BBC Welsh Symphony on BBC television and has recently recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra (Summit DCD 131). He has recorded extensively for the CBC, Centrediscs, Sony and Summit labels.
David Hetherington - Cello
A native of St. Catharines, Ontario, David Hetherington received his musical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, furthering his studies in New York , Italy and Germany with Claus Adam, Andre Navarra, and Paul Tortelier. Currently, the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Hetherington teaches cello and chamber music at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Much in demand as a chamber musician, he collaborates with several small ensembles, including his own string quartet, "Accordes." Through this group he has developed a keen interest in contemporary music, performing regularly for "New Music Concerts" and other contemporary music organizations. In addition to his recording activities with AMICI, Mr. Hetherington has recorded for the CBC, and the Canadian Music Centre's "Centrediscs", with whom he has recently released the premiere recording of Talivaldis Kenins' prize-winning Cello Sonata
Patricia Parr - Piano
Since her debut with the Toronto Symphony at the age of nine, Canadian pianist Patricia Parr has been soloist with major orchestras including Toronto, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh under such conductors as Eugene Ormandy, William Steinberg and Walter Susskind. Internationally renowned for the sensitivity and integrity of her playing, her outstanding qualities as a chamber musician have resulted in invitations to numerous festivals including the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival and collaborations with many ensembles among them the Guarneri, Orford and Vermeer String Quartets. She has toured Europe, Australia, Mexico the USA and Canada, and frequently performs as a duo recitalist. Her recordings appear on the CBC, Centrediscs and Summit labels.
Ms. Parr is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Isabelle Vengerova and Rudolf Serkin. Since 1974, she has been a professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, teaching piano and chamber music.