Sistema NB's Shinie Wagaarachchi named to 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30, 2021 edition


30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30, 2021 edition


Shinie Wagaarachchi, clarinettist

Age: 12
From: Moncton, N.B.

Sistema New Brunswick is one of Canada's most extensive and rapidly expanding programs for young musicians, and Shinie Wagaarachchi is living proof of its success. She began playing clarinet with Sistema N.B. in 2017 and by April 2021, she had won first prize in her age group at the inaugural Mooc Cup Asian International Youth Clarinet Competition. She followed that up in July with a second prize in clarinet at the 2021 Stockholm International Music Competition.

When she grows up, Shinie Wagaarachchi hopes to become 'a teacher, musician and a good human who will protect mother nature.' (Habib Mozzafari)

"Shinie is the solfège assassin," says Dave Scott, Wagaarachchi's clarinet teacher. "It's normal to hear her solfège entire works by memory. At 12 years old, she already has a very mature growth mindset. I can't imagine that the thought has ever crossed her mind that any of her success is abnormal for someone of her age."

In May, she placed first in the junior woodwind category of the New Brunswick Music Festival. She also performed music from MulanThe Lion King and Aladdin at ClassikFest Chaleur with the Sistema N.B. Clarinet Ensemble, under Scott's direction. (Watch it here.) "He always believes in me and is the one who taught me rhythm, articulation, scales, how to get a good sound and more," she says. "I don't know what I would do without him."