Since her debut at the age of 11 with the New York Philharmonic 33 years ago, the violinist Midori has established a record of achievement which sets her apart as a master musician, an innovator, and a champion of the developmental potential of children.
Last season she added two new recordings – one of which won a Grammy – to her extensive catalogue of CDs, and this season she will make two new recordings, one of Bach solo sonatas and partitas and one of the violin concerto DoReMi by Peter Eötvös with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the composer conducting.
Other notable events this season are residencies, the first at Ravinia, where she served as both soloist with the Chicago Symphony and faculty member at the prestigious Steans Institute; the second, at the Lucerne Festival, where she was named Artiste Étoile, she played the world premiere of Oskar (Towards a Brighter Hue II), a new violin concerto composed for her by Johannes Maria Staud; and the third, a series of concerts at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, combining recitals of new music and standard repertoire with a special concert for seniors and another featuring four violin concertos in a single programme.
Recital engagements include Bach solo sonatas and partitas in London and concerts with pianist Özgür Aydin in Paris, Düsseldorf and Tokyo, and she will perform in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra.
In North America, engagements include concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Montréal Symphony, and the NY Philharmonic at the orchestra’s residency in Vail. To this and her many other commitments she continues her position as Distinguished Professor of Violin and Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Today Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, and also as a devoted and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist. In 1992 she founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York which brings music education programmes to underserved New York City schoolchildren in every borough each year. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Her commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realised in her Orchestra Residencies Program. In 2007, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Midori was born in Osaka, Japan in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at a very early age. Zubin Mehta first heard Midori play in 1982, and it was he who invited her to make her now legendary debut – at the age of 11 – at the New York Philharmonic's traditional New Year's Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career. Today Midori lives in Los Angeles.
Her violin is the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses three bows - two by Dominique Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.