Amadeus Ensemble. A string ensemble formed in Toronto in 1984, the Amadeus Ensemble gave its first subscription concert 27 Jan 1985. Its original principal players were Moshe Hammer and Fujiko Imajishi, violins; Douglas Perry, viola; Peter Schenkman, cello; and Joel Quarrington, double bass. With seven or eight additional string players, it performed three to six subscription concerts per season until 2000. The Amadeus Ensemble first performed at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto and, beginning in 1986, in Walter Hall at the University of Toronto. From 1998 to 2000, it performed at the Glenn Gould Studio. The concerts, led from the concertmaster's chair by Hammer, included the traditional chamber repertoire, notably Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák, and works by less-familiar composers (eg, Dittersdorf, Suk); Canadian composers (eg, Willan, MacMillan, Somers, Hétu); and other 20th-century composers (including Gershwin, Ellington, and Ravel).
With the help of additional performers such as the oboist Lawrence Cherney and the mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell, the Amadeus Ensemble performed concertos (by Bach, Sammartini, and others), symphonies (by Mendelssohn and Shostakovich), vocal works (including Bach and Finzi cantatas and Lully arias), and various chamber works. It performed new Canadian works, some commissioned, including Rodney Sharman'sOrpheus' Garden and, with the Wilson-McAllister Guitar Duo, Milton Barnes'Double Concerto in 1987, and Donald Steven'sLove Where the Nights Are Long with Lawrence Cherney, oboe d'amore, and Diane Loeb, soprano, in 1988. It was frequently heard on CBC radio. It performed in 1986 as the Amadeus String Ensemble on the album Everyone Sang by the Orpheus Choir, and recorded in 1988 works by Marjan Mozetich (CBC Musica Viva MVCD-1038). The 1998/1999 season, which celebrated the Amadeus Ensemble's 15th anniversary, included Cherney as well as cellist Amanda Forsyth, and jazz pianist Gene DiNovi. The Amadeus Ensemble collaborated with Holland's Amati Ensemble in February 1999 for an evening of "Romantic Sextets." The 1999/2000 season, which celebrated the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach's death, featured world-renowned cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi performing Bach's Suite for Solo Cello and a string trio arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations, which featured Hammer, violist Douglas McNabney, and Amanda Forsyth. Other guest artists of the 1999/2000 season included the pianist Robert Kortgaard, Holland's Rian de Waal, Israel's Tomer Lev, and the clarinettist James Campbell.