A Marriage of International Music

By Yulia Zhorov

Published February 22, 2016, issue of February 18, 2016.
Igor Golger and Hiroko Kajimoto will perform classical, romantic and jazz music at the Swampscott Public Library on February 27.
Igor Golger and Hiroko Kajimoto will perform classical, romantic and jazz music at the Swampscott Public Library on February 27.

When Russian-born Igor Golger and Japanese-born Hiroko Kajimoto got married in 2000 after meeting at Boston Conservatory, they joined their international musical traditions as well by forming the “Transcontinental Duo.” Their diverse repertoire includes music from classical and romantic to tango, jazz and funk rock, and includes pieces from the rarely heard 7-string guitar music of the Russian gypsies, which they learned by listening to old vinyl records and tapes.

On Saturday, February 27, the duo – who have earned recognition from critics and audiences performing at festivals, coffee houses, weddings and concerts throughout New England — will appear at the Swampscott Public Library in a flute and guitar concert featuring well-known classical music and rarely heard musical gems from Japan, Russia, North and South America.

Born in Moscow, Igor began playing the guitar in his early teens by listening to Russian Bard songs and aspired to be a guitar maker. He immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was 17 years old and settled on the North Shore. At Boston Conservatory, he studied guitar performance, and at the same time he became an apprentice to a guitar builder to learn how to make stringed instruments. He performs on guitars that he built. He also has a degree in electrical engineering from Boston University, and works as an engineer at Teradyne.

Hiroko, a graduate of Osaka College of Music as well as Boston Conservatory, plays the flute and other woodwind instruments and guitar.

The couple was invited to perform at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival in Merida, Mexico, in 2002 as representatives of the Russian 7-string school. Ten years ago, they moved to Japan where they honed performance skills, and met Grammy winner David Matthews, arranger to James Brown and the leader of the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. They became good friends and Matthews even wrote a few pieces for the duo, which they perform and feature on their CD.

The couple returned to America last fall, and became very active in the local musical scene. They also volunteer their time performing at senior citizen centers and libraries in the Boston area.

“Our important objective is to bring the original and rarely heard repertoire for flute and guitar to receptive audiences,” said Golger.

The Transcontinental Duo will perform in a concert at noon on Saturday, February 27, at the Swampscott Public Library, 61 Burrill St., Swampscott. The event is free and open to the public.

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