Quartetto Gelato – Biography

Colin Maier, Oboe, Voice & Saw

Tino Popovic, Violin

Kirk Starkey, Cello

Matti Pulkki, Accordion

Virtuosic showpieces and romantic ballads, blazing gypsy tunes and forgotten chestnuts, all brought to life  with multi-instrument mastery: this is Quartetto Gelato—a popular and highly unusual classical quartet. With sold-out performances in New York, Washington, L.A., London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and elsewhere, this dazzling ensemble has enchanted audiences and critics worldwide with its exotic blend of musical virtuosity, artistic passion and humour. Their performance repertoire spans the globe and includes classical masterworks, engaging vocals, and the sizzling energy of tangos, gypsy and klezmer songs. Quartetto Gelato’s theatrical stage presence and relaxed humour have established an intimate rapport with audiences worldwide.

Quartetto Gelato’s international career was launched when they won the coveted title of NPR Performance Today’s “Debut Artist of the Year.” The group’s first DVD, Quartetto Gelato: A Concert in Wine Country, was picked up by PBS throughout the U.S. in 2007 and is still broadcast regularly. They can be regularly heard on the CBC, Classical 96.3 FM, NPR, PRI, and NUR networks, not to mention the soundtrack of the Hollywood film Only You, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei. At the 2010 INDIE Awards, Quartetto Gelato was honoured as Best Classical Ensemble, and achieved unique global reach when Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk chose their first two CDs to take on board during his NASA flight on the space shuttle Columbia, to literally be heard around the world!

Quartetto Gelato released a highly successful first CD in 1994. Subsequent recordings such as Neapolitan Café (2001) and Musica Latina (2009) showcase the ensemble’s flair for imaginative international themes – Travels the Orient Express (2004) features music associated with stops along the route of the famous train. The quartet recorded a Christmas CD in 2010, followed by 2015’s All Original – 100% Canadian , featuring works written for the group by Canadian composers (Rebecca Pellett, Howard Cable, Michael Occhipinti, Hilario Duran and Jossy Abramovich).In December of 2021, Tasty Tunes was released – Quartetto Gelato’s 10th CD that highlight its signature style – a blend of fun, eclecticism, international flavours and superb musicianship.

Quartetto Gelato would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Circulation & Touring.