The Royal Conservatory The Glenn Gould School

Kathleen Kajioka

Historical Performance Practices: Strings

Kathleen Kajioka has achieved a reputation as a musical multilinguist, moving between worlds with agility and uncompromising depth. Kathleen appears regularly as a baroque violist and violinist with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, as a modern violist with the critically acclaimed Via Salzburg Chamber Orchestra, and as an Arabic violinist with Maryem Tollar, Maza Mezé, and the Arabesque Orchestra, led by Bassam Bishara. Always open for a swing through the pop world, Kathleen has recorded for the likes of Jesse Cook, Luke Doucet and K-os.

It was in the public school system that Kathleen began learning the violin, switching to viola two years later. She attended the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Banff Centre for the Arts, where she studied with Karen Tuttle, Rivka Golani and Gerald Stanick, among others. In Banff she met her most influential teacher, the reknowned violist and pedagogue Martha Strongin-Katz, with whom she pursued undergraduate studies on scholarship at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

Upon her return to Toronto, Kathleen began performing with most of that city’s venerable classical music institutions; however, her focus quickly shifted, and she began broadening her musical range. The recipient of several arts council grants, her studies of Baroque, Medieval and Middle Eastern music have taken her to the US, France and Egypt.

While at Eastman, Kathleen discovered Baroque performance practice, playing in the Eastman Collegium led by lutenist Paul O’Dette. Her interest in early music was further stimulated by her work with Les Violons du Roy in Québec City. She has since become an active member of the early music scene, having shifted her focus to baroque violin, which she has studied with Elizabeth Blumenstock, Manfredo Kraemer, and others. In addition to Tafelmusik, Kathleen has performed with Scaramella, Aradia, Toronto Masque Theatre, Texas Early Music Concerts and Musica Ad Rhenum in the Netherlands. In 2005, she launched the baroque music organization, Past Perfect.

Kathleen’s interest in Middle Eastern music began with a chance encounter with the Toronto-based Arab and Greek fusion band, Maza Mezé in 1997. In collaborating with some of its members, she discovered a love for this sensual and impulsive musical language. She travelled to Brooklyn, NY to study with North America’s Arab music luminary, Simon Shaheen, and then to Egypt, where she studied both violin and ‘oud with Cairo’s Alfred Gamil. Kathleen has combined her interests in a series of compositions, funded by the Toronto Arts Council, which explore the convergence of Western Baroque and Middle Eastern musics. The most recent exploration in Kathleen’s musical landscape is Medieval music, which she has studied and performed with the incomparable Medieval fiddler Shira Kammen.

Reach Professor Kajioka through e-mail at: kathleen.kajioka@rcmusic.ca