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.