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About Us

StringBone! started in Pittsburgh, PA in 2008. We relocated to San Diego, CA in 2015, and have been performing throughout the area. In 2018, we came to Okinawa, Japan! Both members are highly trained musicians who love playing and sharing their music.

Naoko Hirai (trombone)

 Naoko Hirai has had the indispensable opportunity to perform and collaborate with excellent musicians in her professional field located in and around her hometown, Osaka, Japan. Hirai has performed with wind bands, orchestras, chamber ensembles with her specialty being playing with trombone quartets. She has also performed solo recitals in the Kansai-area including Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto and Nara. 


Hirai had the honor of receiving the Cultural Ambassador award 2007-2008 from the Rotary International. After she received her Master of Music degree from Duquesne in 2009, Hirai returned to Duquesne with a full scholarship to pursue an Artist Diploma. She has studied classical trombone with Fujio Isogai, HIroo Yamashita, Tadaaki Yokokawa and Peter Sullivan. She also has studied jazz trombone with Joe Dallas.


 She is currently working as a freelance musician and also participates in numerous high profile groups such as Alia Musica, Ovre Arts, StringBone! and Pittsburgh's only Brazilian Choro ensemble, Choro No Vinho. Hirai teaches low brass and piano at Hope Academy. She also coaches the brass section in the East Liberty Community Engagement Orchestra.

MIchael Borowski (Guitar)

Mike Borowski enjoys an active career as a guitarist, composer, arranger, collaborator, and educator. Having the opportunity to playing in many different musical settings, he has developed a wide-ranging vocabulary that can be heard in his playing and compositions. With specialization being a thing of the past, Borowski strives to be out in front every musical pursuit he comes across, with the ultimate goal of always delivering a quality product to listeners.

As an active performer, Mike Borowski is a founding member of Pittsburgh’s premier tango ensemble, Cuidado, as well as Choro no Vinho, Pittsburgh’s only Brazilian choro group. Borowski also plays with Dazzletine, a high-energy glam rock band, and Kinetic, a soul-full afro-pop group specializing in Afro-Cuban music. He has also had the opportunity to record and collaborate with singer/actress Renn Woods. In 2013, he served as music director for the premier of Ms. Woods musical/play, “Sold” at the Pittsburgh Playwright Theatre.

Mike Borowski attended the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in guitar performance. He has studied with many incredible musicians including Joe Negri, Tom Kikta, Sean Jones, Mike Tomaro, Ken Karsh, and Mark Koch. 

What is Choro? ショーロって?

Choro is a musical genre and considered Brazil's first national music. It is a complex mix of musical elements borrowing heavily from African rhythms and European harmonies. Within the genre, there many sub-categories of rhythmic styles also taken from European traditions that have been modified into a Brazilian way of playing. The best way to discover this music is to listen! One of the greatest composers in Brazil's history is a man named Pixinguinha, and his music is a wonderful place to start. There has been a great surge of interest in the music recently,  and musicians from all over the world have been discovering the beauty of Choro. 


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