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Music of friends

Dundas-based clarinetist and Ryerson organist tune up for the next performance of chamber music series

By Shiona Mackenzie, Special to The News 

Shiori Kobayashi is hoping to bring the warmth of chamber music to audiences in the Greater Hamilton area.

The Dundas-based clarinetist recently launched a chamber music concert series featuring Hamilton area guest performers.

“I wanted to support area musicians while introducing little-known pieces that highlight unusual combinations of instruments,” said Kobayashi. “I aim to encourage local audiences to listen to music they may never have heard before.”

Written for small groups of instruments, chamber music is often referred to as the “music of friends” due to its intimate nature.

Kobayashi  moved to Canada from Japan as a child, and experienced a language barrier and culture shock.

“At the time, aside from my family and Japanese friends, music was the only thing that helped me overcome my frustrations,” she said. “Music gave me confidence and strength. More than half of my days were spent listening to many different styles of music. Although I may not have understood the meaning of the songs, I tried to listen to the harmonies, the dynamics, and phrasing of the melody line, which can be understood no matter what language you speak.”

Kobayashi has invited pianist Ian Green to help bring her chamber music brainchild to life. Green has been using his skills to advance music education for more than 15 years. He wears many hats — music director and organist at Ryerson United Church, co-owner of a music entertainment company, piano adjudicator at a variety of Ontario music festivals and recording secretary for the Hamilton-Halton Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

“There is a need on a grassroots level to keep classical music alive in the community,” said Green.

Next up on the series agenda is Master Chamber Works With Clarinet, 7 p.m., May 24, Hamilton Mennonite Church,. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, at the door or in advance by calling 905-628-4980.

Kobayashi  and Green we will be joined by Zoltan Kalman on clarinet and Abigail Freeman, an operatic coloratura soprano.

“Music comforted me, especially in difficult times,” said Kobayashi. “It made a huge impact on who I am today. I hope to touch people’s lives through performance, the same way music helped me.”

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