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Wind Trees Strings

Amati violin.jpgThis weekend on SoundXchange we have wind, trees and strings susurrating through that airwaves, with a performance by the Amati Quartet, and the haunting poetry of Beth Goobie, read by Amy Matysio.

from Manitoba Maple Tree


from QuillandQuire.com


"Beth Goobie's otherworldly views


"Meeting young adult author Beth Goobie is a little like reading a Beth Goobie novel: somewhat disorienting at first.

I agree to interview Goobie in a coffee shop because she does not want me to know where she lives. The mercury on this January day has sunk to -40, and the air over Saskatoon is frosty with ice crystals. "I did some work clearing my chakras before I came here," she announces.

Chakras are part of an ancient Eastern belief that the body has seven primary energy points, each one assigned a colour, from red at the base of the spine to violet at the top of the head. Goobie seems to be testing my knowledge - and my willingness to accept what she tells me. Over the course of our conversation she says many things that require an explanation.

"Basically, you are clearing your auric field," she says. "Your auric field is an energy field that you carry around you that contains all your thoughts and all your memories. It contains your past tense, your present tense, and your future tense. When you sit down to write, you need to learn how to clear that field so you have a space that will let you move into your story. I found that it gave me much more clarity and focus and really improved my writing abilities. It was very tangible."

She tells me that because of a traumatic childhood, she developed a "fragmented" psyche. She stored memories on different "levels," and many of those levels she simply lost. It wasn't until she was in her thirties that she began to remember those childhood fragments. "It's like you're a series of infinite parallel universes and on each one of them your personalities are vibrating at different rates. As they integrate, you learn to absorb that vibrating rate, that frequency rate, and your consciousness expands," she says.


Goobie is best known for her quirky and dark young adult novels. She's published several of them, beginning in 1994. Her novel Before Wings won the Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Book Award in 2000, and was chosen by young readers for the Best Books list of the American Library Association.

After high school, Goobie moved to Manitoba to study at the University of Winnipeg and the Mennonite Brethren Bible College and completed degrees in English literature and religious studies. She moved to Edmonton to work with abused children and teens in the child welfare system.

At the age of 30, she collapsed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Recovering at home, she began her first novel. Too weak to sit at a typewriter and suffering blurred vision, she dictated the story a few minutes at a time into a tape recorder. It was about a girl who decides to stop shaving her legs (as Goobie had at that time) and enter a beauty pageant. The result, Mission Impossible, won an award from the Writers Guild of Alberta and was nominated for a Governor General's Award for children's literature.

Goobie moved to Saskatoon in 1996, but won't say why. While she speaks freely of childhood horrors and recovered memories, she is fiercely protective of her current private life. She volunteers very little information, and she forbids her publisher from using her photograph on her books: "It's rare to want to be private these days, but I am."



About the Amati Quartet Musicians

Marla Cole, is a founding member of the University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet which recently performed for Queen Elizabeth II, and made their international debut with four concerts in Holland, as well as Rome, and Cremona. Marla received a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance at the University of Saskatchewan, and was an Artist-in-Residence for one year at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She was a scholarship and award-winning student at the Royal College of Music in London, England where she received both the ARCM performer's diploma and a Master of Music degree in violin performance. She has freelanced with many major London orchestras and has performed chamber music in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Italy, Holland, and Austria in various ensembles. She performed with the Saskatoon Symphony for 12 years, serving two years as Principal Violin. Marla has also performed as both Concertmaster and Principal Violin with the Saskatoon Opera. She has enjoyed adjudicating throughout the province for the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association. Marla has been recorded and broadcast by CBC radio, and can be heard on the CD 'Songs of Woods, Rock and Water' which features the music of Saskatchewan composer Gareth L. Cook. Currently, Marla enjoys performing, private teaching, adjudicating throughout the province for the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, and her new business the Saskatoon String Ensemble which provides chamber music for a multitude of events in Saskatchewan, and her latest endeavor with cellist Terry Sturge - Duo Virtuosi.


Currently, Marla enjoys performing, private teaching, adjudicating throughout the province for the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, and her new business the Saskatoon String Ensemble which provides chamber music for a multitude of events in Saskatchewan, and her latest endeavor with cellist Terry Sturge - Duo Virtuosi.


Evan Barber, violin, is in his sixth season with the University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet. He began his musical studies with Philip Kashap and the Saskatoon Suzuki program at the age of three. He is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and a former member of the Saskatoon Symphony. Evan has performed with various chamber ensembles, including the "Mesh Quartet" which won first place in their category at the Canadian Music Competition. He has been recorded and broadcast by CBC radio. Evan has completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and is in his third year of medical school. He is a recipient of the Governor General's Academic Medal and a U of S Greystone Scholar.



Geoff Cole, viola, is a founding member of the University of Saskatchewan Amati Quartet. Geoff studied at the Trinity College of Music in London, England, where he was a scholarship and prize-winning student, receiving a Performance Diploma with merit in 1994 and a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction the following year. He also attended the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies. Geoff was a freelance musician with several major London symphonies and a member of the Capriccio Quartet, which toured Europe and recorded for BBC television. Geoff was a member of the Saskatoon Symphony for seven years. He is currently working in the computer industry as a Director of Information Technology. Geoff and Marla live in Saskatoon with their two young children.



Terence Sturge, cellist, was born in Toronto, Canada in 1952 and moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1975 where he studied cello with his principal teacher, James Hunter at the University of Victoria, graduating in 1979 with a degree in cello performance. He has also participated in masterclasses with Zara Nelsova, William Pleeth and Janos Starker. While in Victoria, he taught at the conservatory, played in the Victoria Symphony and performed in several chamber groups. He has performed throughout Canada and in the U.S. with orchestras, as chamber musician and recitalist. Terry moved to Saskatoon in 1986 where he was artist-in-residence and principal cellist of the Saskatoon Symphony for three years. Resigning that position in 1989, Terry has enjoyed a busy career as a freelance cellist and teacher. He is married to flutist Randi Nelson and they have two children.Terry also plays with violinist Marla Cole in Duo Virtuosi.

A Brief History of the Quartet of Amati Instruments owned by the University of Saskatchewan

A history spanning two hundred years and four generations, the famous Amati family of Cremona in Northern Italy crafted some of the most exquisite, sought-after string instruments of all time. Members of royalty and popes, among the select few, were able to acquire these treasured masterpieces. Today, Queen Elizabeth II has an Amati viola, with a painting on the back, in her possession.

The unique structure of these instruments contributed to their incomparable sweetness of tone fulfilling the requirements of chamber music in the Baroque era, but having less volume potential than today's virtuoso violinists may desire.

The work of Andrea Amati (1500-1577), patriarch of this family, was continued by sons Antonio (ca.1535-1607) and Girolamo Heironymous (1561-1630). However, it was Nicolò Amati (1596-1684), son of Girolamo, who, after refining the family's traditional design structure, crafted the most desired and valued instruments of the Amati family. The larger instruments had flatter bellies and backs, lower arches, less side-grooving and richly hued varnish which was more transparent than previous designs. The new design allowed greater volume potential.

It was in his workshop that Nicolò Amati trained apprentices Andrea Guarneri (c1626-1698) and Antonio Stradivarius (1644-1737). Nicolò's son Girolamo (1649-1740), was the last contributor to the Amati era which left a profound vestige in the crafting of instruments of the violin family.

The first violin, to be acquired by Mr. Stephen Kolbinson, made by the Amati brothers in 1627, was purchased in 1955 from David McCallum, concertmaster of the London Philharmonic. Previously part of a private collection, this instrument had been smuggled out of France to safety in England during World War II.

The second violin to be acquired was built by Nicolò Amati in 1637. Mr. Kolbinson purchased the instrument from Daisy Kennedy. A world-famous concert violinist. This violin was given to her by the internationally renowned violin teacher, Ottokar Ševcik, when she made her debut in London. Before she retired, Mr. Kolbinson secured a promise from her that he would have first consideration as a buyer should she ever decide to sell the Amati violin. When she later announced her retirement there were at least three hundred people waiting to make an offer for the instrument, but she remembered her promise and happily offered her best wishes to Mr. Kolbinson on his quest

The Amati cello, made by Heironymous Amati, Nicolò's son, in 1690, had been given the joint seal of the Plymouth and Clive families (Clive was a general in India). The violoncello had been left for decades, along with a Stradivarius violin and other instruments, in an attic of the Earl of Plymouth's castle in England. Fritz Kreisler, noted violinist and composer, purchased the Stradivarius and Mr. Kolbinson bought the cello.

To complete the quartet, Mr. Kolbinson arranged to buy a viola, sight unseen, over the telephone when one became available after a quartet of instruments was broken up in France. Amati violas are extremely rare. Tragically, the first viola that Mr. Kolbinson had purchased for the quartet, from a noble Italian family living in the United States, had been stolen from his farm near Kindersley, Saskatchewan, has never been recovered. Upon hearing of its availability, Mr. Kolbinson flew to Paris at once and triumphantly returned to Saskatoon with his Amati quartet completed in 1958. The viola was built by the Amati brothers in 1607, commissioned by Pope Paul the Fifth, a member of the famous Italian Borghese family. This instrument bears the coat of arms of the Borghese family on the back.