Amici Chamber Ensemble


Artistic Directors’ Message

2023|24 Season

Outstanding performances. Extraordinary experiences.

Please join us for an outstanding season of chamber music experiences. Amici has produced 35 extraordinary seasons of chamber music in Toronto, and we couldn’t be more excited for the coming season. We are delighted to be joined by so many wonderful talented musicians.

We begin our 2023-24 season on Oct. 1 with a thoroughly enjoyable concert of music we lovingly call GEMS. On Nov. 26, we invite you to time travel with WINDS OF TIME, a gorgeous winds program that is sure to delight. Experience Bohemian passion with TRANSYLVANIAN EXPRESS on Feb. 25 featuring violinist Nikki Chooi. We finish out the concert season on April 28 with DIASPORIC BRIDGES, a unique project Amici has undergone over the last year to explore the musical traditions of many cultures and musically defining the Diasporan experience.

Thank you for joining us on this remarkable musical journey together! Subscribe to all four concerts for guarantee best seats and prices!

Hope to see you there!

– Joaquin, David, and Serouj

Meet Amici's Artistic Directors


David Hetherington

A native of St. Catharines Ontario, David Hetherington was for many years the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Assistant Principal Cellist.

He received his musical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, and furthered his cello studies in New York, Italy and Germany with Claus Adam, André Navarra and Paul Tortelier.

Mr. Hetherington teaches at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory. He coaches the cello sections of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and is Music Director of the Inter-Provincial Music Camp near Parry Sound, Ontario.

As soloist, Mr. Hetherington has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Sault Symphony Orchestra, the Niagara Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra of Canada, New Music Concerts and Soundstreams Canada as well as recitals at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

As chamber musician, he has toured Canada, the United States, Mexico, China  and Europe, appeared at the Ottawa, Elora, Sweetwater and Kincardine Music Festivals and performed with many internationally renowned artists such as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Emmanuel Ax, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Measha Brueggergosman, James Ehnes, Heinz Holliger and Arnold Steinhardt. He appears regularly with the ARC Ensemble of the Royal Conservatory with whom he has toured and recorded.

In addition to the Amici Chamber Ensemble, Mr. Hetherington is also a founding member of the string quartet Accordes, which performs regularly for New Music Concerts, Soundstreams Canada and other contemporary music organizations. In 2001, the Canadian Music Centre, through Centrediscs, released Accordes’ recording of Harry Somers’ String Quartets, for which it received a Juno Award nomination. Accordes has also recorded works by several other Canadian composers such as Norma Beecroft, David Eagle, Harry Freedman, Hope Lee, Alexina Louie and Jean Papineau-Couture.

Mr. Hetherington has appeared on several recordings for the CBC and for Centrediscs with whom he made the Canadian première recording of Talivaldis Kenins’ prize-winning cello sonata. He has been active in performing and recording much contemporary music and has recorded solo cello pieces by Alice Ho, Chan Ka Nin (CBC Records) and Elliot Carter (Naxos). In addition, he has collaborated personally with many other composers such as Brian Cherney, Henri Dutilleux, Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann, Magnus Lindberg and Alexina Louie for performances of their works for solo cello. All of these performances were recorded for broadcast by the CBC.

Mr. Hetherington plays a cello made in 1695 by Giovanni Battista Grancino.


Joaquin Valdepeñas

“I was thirteen years old, in Grade 7, at a school that had a wonderful music program. Two buddies and I wanted to play the trumpet. The first day of music class, they went down the alphabet when we were choosing our instruments. My name starts with a “V” and by the time they got to my name, they were out of trumpets. So they gave me a clarinet…and I’ve stayed with it ever since! I really feel it chose me.”
—Joaquin Valdepeñas on how he came to play the clarinet

Joaquin Valdepeñas, considered one of the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation was recently appointed Resident Conductor at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School and has conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on many occasions.

A prolific recording artist, he has won two Juno Awards, for his recording of Jacque Hetu’s clarinet concerto and most recently with Amici Chamber Ensemble’s Levant. his latest CD with the ARC Ensemble on the Chandos Label was released last season and features the Clarinet Quintet of Paul Ben-Haim. Another Chandos disc has just been recorded for release in 2016.

Mr. Valdepeñas was a Grammy Award nominee two consecutive years in the chamber music category—the latest nomination for a recording featuring the music of Julius Rontgen on Sony BMG.

Mr. Valdepeñas was appointed principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra upon graduation from Yale University and appears as soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. He has performed at international festivals including Banff, Casals, Curitiba Brazil, Marlboro, Nagano Japan, and Korea’s Great Mountains Music Festival and has collaborated with the American, Calder, Emerson, Muir, Orion, St. Lawrence, Takács, Ying, and Zemlinsky string quartets, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The International Sejong Soloists and the Kalichstein Laredo Robinson Trio. Mr. Valdepeñas made his European debut with the BBC Welsh Symphony which was televised on the BBC and has recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra.

He has been a member of the artist/faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School for many years and was featured in a PBS documentary about the festival. Last season his love of chamber music took him to performances at Wigmore Hall in London and The Royal Concertgbeouw Hall in Amsterdam.

As an exclusive Yamaha artist he was instrumental in the design of the CSG clarinet combining the french and german traditions into a unique voice.

Serouj Kradjan

Serouj Kradjian

Canadian pianist and composer Serouj Kradjian has established himself as a versatile artist whose readiness to break new boundaries and explore different styles has made him an exciting voice on the international music scene.

The New York Times has described Juno-award-winning and Grammy-nominated Kradjian’s playing as a “persuasive balance between elegance and spirit,” while the Frankfurter Allegemeine noted that he has “a fiery temperament and elegant sound” with “technique to burn.” Mr. Kradjian  has appeared with the Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Madrid  and  Göttingen Symphonies, the Russian National Orchestra, the Armenian Philharmonic and the Thailand Philharmonic.

Solo, chamber music recitals and premieres of his compositions have taken Mr. Kradjian from all major Canadian cities, via the U.S – New York (Carnegie Hall), Boston (Jordan Hall) , San Francisco ,  Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles – to European concert halls in Paris, Munich, Salzburg, Trondheim, Lausanne, Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao and to the Far East in China and Japan.. He is regularly invited to the Ottawa, Bergen, Savannah , Colmar and Cortona music festivals.

As a collaborative artist, Kradjian has appeared in concert with sopranos Dawn Upshaw, Isabel Bayrakdarian, baritone Russell Braun, tenor Michael Shade, violinists Lara St. John, Jonathan Crow and Ara Malikian, violist Kim Kashkashian and the Pacifica, Cecilia and Arthur LeBlanc String Quartets.

Serouj Kradjian’s discography includes the acclaimed Transcendental Etudes and Piano Concerti by Franz Liszt, and Robert Schumann’s three sonatas for violin and piano (with Ara Malikian). With Isabel Bayrakdarian he recorded songs by Pauline Viardot-Garcia, which brought the two artists international accolades and a 2006 Juno award for Classical Album of the Year. With the Amici Chamber Ensemble, of which he is co-artistic director, he has recorded Armenian Chamber Music and Levant  which won the Juno for Best Classical Recording in 2013.

His explorations of tango and flamenco music have led to the critically acclaimed recording project “Tango Notturno” and the North American concert tour of “Reimagining Flamenco” with virtuoso flamenco guitarist Grisha Goryachev.

Works composed or arranged by Serouj Kradjian have been performed by I Musici de Montréal, the Vancouver Symphony and the Elmer Iseler Singers. His 2008 orchestral arrangements of folk songs by Gomidas, Armenia’s national composer, featured in the Nonesuch release Gomidas Songs earned him a Grammy award nomination. Trobairitz Ysabella, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, inspired by medieval women troubadours, was a commission by the CBC and premiered by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in 2011 and included in the Juno-nominated recording “Troubadour and the Nightingale” also featuring his orchestrations of songs by Maurice Ravel and Sayat Nova sung by Ms. Bayrakdarian and Anne Manson conducting the MCO.

In April 2015, Mr. Kradjian’s new composition “Cantata for Living Martyrs”, dedicated to the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, was premiered by the Fresno Philharmonic and Chorus.