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Ayaka Ando with Ruriko Helkowski

Ayaka Ando is a Japanese clarinet player.

She has played the clarinet since childhood and belonged to the wind ensemble club in high school. She continued to study playing clarinet and finally graduated from Tokyo University of Arts. She joined a short term summer program at Berklee music college in 2015.

She mainly plays pop music at concert halls, restaurants, cafes, bars and so on. She can also play classic music, and cooperate to make sounds of many TV games and TV shows. She is a member of the instrumental band Chihiro Yamazaki+ROUTE14band and Pop clarinet entertainment group CLASH. CLASH will play in Taipei city Taiwan this autumn.

Her recent concerts are not just concerts to listen to music, she is trying to collaborate with music and coffee. She  has held events which collaborated music and coffee in a cafe. In this event, she not only played clarinet but also brewed coffee for her visitors.

She is really a coffee geek. She travels around the world enjoying coffee from all over.

Coffee Instagram: @matsuricoffee

Ruriko began learning to play the piano at five years old. She continued learning and practicing studiously and entered the Shoubi Junior College of Music in Tokyo in 1992. Soon after she graduated with a semi-bachelor's degree in Piano Performance.

Ruriko continued her classical piano training by next attending the Trinity College of Music ( Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance ) in London, England. She continued there till receiving a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 1999. During her time at Trinity College, she received 3rd place in the Franz Liszt Competition inside of school aria. She also held several classical concerts at music halls in Japan with her sister, who is a Flutist, and her sister's husband, who is a Saxophonist. After finishing at Trinity College of music, she continued further, and came to the USA to study at Towson University in Maryland. She continued there and earned a Master's Degree in piano performance.

Besides her ongoing studies, Ruriko has also maintained an active piano studio through most of her life, both while living in Japan and while now living in the USA. She teaches students ranging in age from 4 years to adult. She is known for her ability to teach people of all ages and backgrounds, helping them to develop their skills and learn to truly love music. In pursuit of using music to help nurture the spirit of people, Ruriko attended the Ebara Conservatory in Tokyo and studied till receiving a diploma in Music Therapy.

Ruriko has performed as piano accompaniment at schools and churches, including at the Bark Hill Bible Church. She currently resides in Seattle with her husband David, continuing to teach at her own private piano studio and performing at churches and events as opportunity presents. Most recent performances include piano accompaniment at several public school around Renton.

Earlier Event: August 12
Angela Cross
Later Event: August 24
Forum Blue with Courtney Phelps