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Toronto Montreal

Q&A | 40 Questions For Kathleen Kajioka

By Michael Vincent on January 29, 2017

Kathleen Kajioka (Photo courtesy Classical 96.3 FM)
Kathleen Kajioka (Photo courtesy Classical 96.3 FM)

Every so often MT poses 60 questions to a local or visiting artist in Toronto who has made our classical music community that much more interesting. They pick and choose. The minimum response is 20 answers. A kind of Rorschach personality test, if you will.

Kathleen Kajioka is a familiar face in Toronto’s musical community. She has played viola and violin with just about everybody, including Tafelmusik, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Maza Meze, the COC, Opera Atelier. Kajioka has also recorded on albums by Jesse Cook, Luke Doucet, and K-os. In 2007, she became an accomplished broadcaster.

You can hear Kajioka regularly on Toronto’s The New Classical FM as host of  In the Still of the Night, Dinner Classics, and Sunday Night with thee TSO.

What are three things about Toronto that make you want to live here?

Cultural richness and diversity; the ease — things work here (mostly); progressive attitudes

What are three things that Toronto doesn’t have but should?

More extensive and better-subsidized public transit; a modestly-sized venue that is attractive, with good sound, and which is affordable to rent for the average musician

Name the musical equivalent to junk food

80’s pop (I like junk food, by the way)

Default cocktail of choice?

Perfect Manhattan

Name your favourite concert hall in Toronto

Koerner Hall

Name your favourite concert hall anywhere

Salle Erard, Paris

Your role models?

My parents; Martha Katz; Yves Saint-Laurent

Your favourite sound?

Morning birds

Your least favourite sound?

Endlessly idling trucks

Your favourite smells?

Onions frying in butter

Your least favourite smells?

Anything fishy

First thing that comes to your mind when you think about Toronto


What are the three things you’d like to change about Toronto?

I’d like us to stop collectively behaving like tourists in our own city, to develop a sense of belonging together, of ownership and personal pride in the talent among us.

Your first three record store purchases

Orford Quartet “Encores” album; Corey Hart “Boy in the Box”; I can’t recall the 3rd

If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you?

Really, anywhere to go play with my wonderful friends and colleagues in Ensemble Masques. As it happens, I’m on my way to Belgium to meet them now…

The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?

Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of ….

Where was the last place you traveled to for work or pleasure?

Poland, for work, which was also a pleasure!

Where did you go to school?


What did you major in as an undergraduate?

Viola performance

The strangest talent that you possess?

I always know what time it is without looking

Shoe of choice?

John Fluevog

Your ancestry?

Japanese & Icelandic

Your three favourite films?

Truly, Madly Deeply; Rear Window; When Night is Falling

Television show that you could tolerate re-runs of?

Any Agatha Christie adaptation

The character flaw in others that you can’t abide?


How do you know when you can trust someone?

My spidey-sense tells me

What is the best thing about your work?

Being able to share my passion for music with so many people

What is the worst thing about your work?

It takes a surprising amount of energy — but as “worst things” go, that’s not so bad!

What are you listening to as you answer these questions?

The terrible music at the airport restaurant.

What musical instrument do you secretly long to play?

The Lute

What sport did you give up and why?

Basketball — I’m not exactly tall, but it was because of music — first because I was too busy, later because I feared for my hands.

What is the one animal that scares you the most?

Any lethal snake

If you had a motto, what would it be?

Quality is everything

Have you ever fired a gun? If so, what were the circumstances?


Your least favourite word?


The thing that makes you the happiest?

Experiences deeply shared with loved ones

The thing that makes you the angriest?

Being undervalued

The strangest road you’ve ever travelled?

Got lost with colleagues on a rural road in Iceland. In addition to the breathtaking landscape, we saw farmland that had made way for Elf habitats!

Three pieces, songs, or arias that you could listen to on repeat for an hour?

Purcell’s “An Evening Hymn”; Haydn’s Quartet Op. 76, No. 5 – Largo; Monteverdi’s “Duo Seraphim” from the Vespers of 1610.

The first three things that you do every morning?

Turn on the radio, fire up the espresso machine, pet and feed my cat

To read more from our Q&A Series, click HERE.


Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig van Toronto. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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