click photo to enlarge Midori violinist

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In the 2002-03 season, violinist Midori will celebrate her 20th year of performing before the public. Her performing schedule, balanced between recitals with Robert McDonald and appearances with the most prestigious symphonic ensembles, will take her to the great concert stages of Europe, North America and the Far East. 2002-03 also marks the 10th anniversary of Midori & Friends, the non-profit organization Midori founded to bring free music instruction programs throughout the school year to thousands of children who need them.

Stephen Lumsden Manager

Susannah York Skinner

Midori's 2002-03 season begins with an energetic schedule of European summer festival appearances, in which she will perform either in recital with pianist Robert McDonald or as soloist with orchestra, including concerts at Aldeburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Stresa, Amsterdam and Ludwigsburg. This year Midori will make her debut at the Salzburg Festival and, as the summer comes to a close, will perform at the Proms in London. Midori's U.S. appearances in the 2002-03 season will include performances with the major symphony orchestras of Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia, plus the National Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. In an unusual 2-week residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Midori will play by turns both the Barber and the Sibelius violin concertos and will participate in intensive educational and community outreach programs with orchestra members and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. From 23-28 January 2003, Midori will celebrate her 20th anniversary by performing with the orchestra and conductor with whom she made her U.S. debut at the age of 11 - the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. Among the European orchestras Midori will perform with this season will be the BBC Symphony, the Orchestre de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Bayerischer Staatsorchester. In 2002-03 Midori will do three recital tours - two to Europe, to include performances in Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Hamburg and Brussels; and one, in March of 2003, visiting 8 cities on the east coast of the U.S., culminating in a recital at New York's Carnegie Hall on 29 March. All of Midori’s recitals are performed in collaboration with pianist Robert McDonald, with the exception of a concert she will play with Christoph Eschenbach on October 11th in Paris.

Sony Classical

Berlin Concert, 14 November 2001

Newsletter/Spring 2001:
Record Shelf

Newsletter/Spring 2000:
Welcoming Midori

Midori's 2001-02 season began with the National Symphony's season-opening gala in Washington, D.C., followed by a tour of Japan with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and appearances with the Munich Philharmonic, the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. She continued her annual recital touring with Robert McDonald in the U.S. and many countries abroad, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and Italy. Midori received two prestigious awards in the Fall of 2001: the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, which is bestowed on established artists in recognition of their career accomplishments and comes with a $50,000 cash award, and the Instrumentalist of the Year award from Musical America, the bible of the music industry.

As part of Midori's 20th anniversary season, commemorative events have been planned throughout the world: the celebrations began in Japan in May 2002 as Midori played a major recital tour with pianist Robert McDonald. She also initiated a unique series of concerts titled "Total Experience," based on the concept of "kizuna," the Japanese word for human interconnectedness. These appearances were in small towns all over Japan, and involved experimentation with thematic concepts and proactive audience participation. Throughout the 2002-03 season, Midori will also make it a point to perform with many of the international orchestras and in the key concert halls around the world which have played an important role in the development of her career.

In the two decades of her career, Midori has worked with artists such as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Jonathan Biss, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Nobuko Imai, Mariss Jansons, Yo-Yo Ma, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Isaac Stern, and Pinchas Zukerman. In past seasons, she has also appeared with such orchestras as the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra (Hamburg), Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebuow Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic.

Midori records exclusively for Sony Classical. A new recording of French recital repertoire by Saint-Saëns, Debussy and Poulenc was released in Summer 2002, featuring Midori and her duo partner of over 15 years, pianist Robert McDonald. Last year the first Super Audio CD issued by Sony Classical featured Midori's recording of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, K.320d, with violist Nobuko Imai, as well as the reconstructed Concerto in D Major for Violin and Piano (K.315f) with Christoph Eschenbach as both pianist and conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra. Other concerto recordings include a disk pairing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No.1, both recorded live with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic; the DvoÕák Violin Concerto with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, also recorded live; the two Bartók Violin Concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic under Mr. Mehta; and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, with Mr. Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. Among Midori's other Sony Classical CDs is a Grammy-nominated recording of the Paganini Caprices for Solo Violin. Midori’s recorded collaborations with Robert McDonald include a recording of the Elgar and Franck sonatas; Encore!, a collection of virtuoso showpieces; and a disk featuring the sonatas of Bartók, Enescu and Schnittke, tentatively scheduled for 2004. Sony's live recording of Midori's Carnegie Hall recital debut (October 1990), is also available on CD. Her next orchestral recording will be the Bruch G minor and Mendelssohn E minor concertos, to be recorded live with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Mariss Jansons.

Midori devotes a significant part of each season to her work with Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive music education (including instrument instruction and general music instruction), workshops and concerts to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity for involvement in the arts. The foundation is now partnered with numerous public schools in New York City. Midori performs at many of the schools, and so also do musicians representing other musical genres, from jazz players to African drummers to Chinese flutists, and more. The focus of Midori & Friends, though imparted through music education, is not solely musical; rather, it is an effort to nurture the whole child, increase self esteem among the participants, and to offer awareness of cultural diversity. Midori has also founded a similar organization in Japan, Music Sharing. Music Sharing concentrates on music education for young people with a special focus on both classical music and traditional Japanese music. The programs, which are offered in public schools, children’s hospitals and special institutions, place an emphasis on active audience participation and collaboration. Midori's commitment to education extends beyond her foundation to her work with young violinists in master classes all over the world. This is in addition to lessons with students at the Manhattan School of Music, where Midori became a member of the violin faculty in 2001.

Midori's unique talents and lively personality have brought her wide recognition in the media. Her television appearances have ranged from the 1992 Winter Olympic Games telecast and several CNN programs to CBS Sunday Morning, A&E's Breakfast with the Arts, Sesame Street, and The Tonight Show. She has also been seen in numerous concert broadcasts worldwide, including Carnegie Hall's 100th Anniversary Gala concert. Special documentary features profiling Midori in her 20th Anniversary season are being prepared by both the Japanese broadcast service NHK and the German network ZDF.

Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at a very early age. In 1982, when Zubin Mehta first heard her play, he was so impressed that he invited her to be a surprise guest soloist for 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.

Midori lives in New York City with her two dogs, Franzie (after Franz Joseph Haydn) and Willa (after Willa Cather, one of Midori's favorite writers). In 2000, she completed a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Gender Studies at the Gallatin School of New York University, graduating magna cum laude, and is now a Master’s candidate. Away from school and the concert hall, Midori enjoys spending time with her younger brother, reads voraciously, and attends the theater. Her violin is the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesu "ex-Huberman," which is on a lifetime loan to her from the Hayashibara Foundation.

February 2003

short bio

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French Violin Sonatas Poulenc sonata for Violin and Piano (1943); Debussy Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano; Saint-Saëns Sonata No 1 in D Minor 2002
20th Anniversary Album Wieniawsky 1st Violin Concerto; Debussy La fill aux cheveaux de lin; Kreisler La Gitana; Prokofiev Tales of an Old Grandmother; Amy Beach Romance; Ede Poldini The Dancing Doll; Elgar Chanson de Nuit 2002
Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E Flat Major, K364
Concerto for Violin & Piano, K. Anh. 56 (reconstruction by Philip Wilby)
With Nabuko Imai, viola; Christoph Eschenbach, conductor & piano
SK 89488 (also available on multi-channel SACD)
Tchaikovsky / Shostakovich Violin Concerto, Op. 35
Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 99
Berlin Philharmonic; Claudio Abbado
SK 68338
Franck / Elgar Violin Sonatas, with Robert McDonald
SK 63331
Sibelius / Bruch Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, op. 47
'Scottish' Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, op. 46
With the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta
SK 58967
Various "Encore!"
Including works by Bacewicz, Bartók, Cui, Dvorák, Elgar, Fauré, Gluck, Kreisler, Paganini, Prokofiev, Saraste, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Szymanowsky, Tchaikovsky, Ysaye
With Robert McDonald
SK 52568
Various "Live at Carnegie Hall"
BEETHOVEN: Sonata for Piano + Violin No. 3, op. 30, No.3
R. STRAUSS: Sonata for Violin + Piano op. 18
CHOPIN: Nocturne op. post
ERNST: Variations on "The Last Rose of Summer"
DEBUSSY: Beau Soir
RAVEL: Tzigane
With Robert McDonald
CD SK 46742, LD SLV 46394, VHS SHV 46394
Bartok Violin Concertos Nos. 1 + 2
With the Berlin Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta
SK 45941
Dvorak Violin Concerto; Romance op. 11, Carnival Overture
With the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta
SK 44923
Paganini 24 Caprices op. 1
SK 44944

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Recital, Wigmore Hall (Fauré Violin Sonata)
Midori captures perfectly the introverted passion found within its circular confines. There was an effortless, teasing flexibility to her line, mirroring the constantly fluctuating harmony. She used such subtle rubato to fuel climaxes as naturally as a bird rides the thermals; and amid the tug of rhythmic currents, even the simplest rising scale was made thrilling. No-one can sound more silken than Midori, but there is sinew there too.
The Times

London Symphony Orchestra / Eschenbach (Bruch 1st Concerto)
She brought all her considerable might and musical intellect to this performance of Bruch’s first concerto, investing its opening vorspiel with heavy, lingering portent. Her deep sincerity, and the sense of a thoroughly worked-through interpretation, called to mind words Bruch used in describing his study of folk music: "with seriousness, perseverance and unending interest".
The Times

St Louis Symphony / Hans Vonk (Sibelius Violin Concerto)
Midori’s account of the Sibelius Violin Concerto opus 47 with Hans Vonk conducting the mighty St Louis Symphony Orchestra was one of those memorable occasions to witness sheer artistic genius. From the outset, Midori’s dignified and poised presence indicated the manner in which the complexity of the music would unfold. The Concerto, one of the most taxing in the repertoire, received an eloquent and spellbinding reading with Midori’s technical strength shining through to support the virtuosity of the work. Her consistent and beautifully weighted tone, with wide dynamics, perfectly graduated with innate musicality, resulted in a mature, emotionaly charged performance of immense beauty.
Birmingham Post

Pittsburgh Symphony / Mariss Jansons (Dvorak Violin Concerto)
The sound is fine and lean and the technique as impregnable as ever. More important is the soundness and seriousness of the musicianship.
New York Times

Recital, Carnegie Hall (Franck Sonata)
This was a remarkable performance, but so too was that of Franck’s sonata at the end. Midori made the opening melody so gentle, so fragile, you almost did not want to hear it for fear it would break in your ears. But music is tough as well as weightless. For as long as the sonata went on in this vein – and again when it returned to similar material – Midori kept up her fingertip handling, and yet, as in the Mozart, her musical expression was sure and large. There was a touching sense that much more was being implied than could be said, that here was someone smiling through tears – or weeping through laughter. The ambiguity was complete, and right.
New York Times

Recital, Milan (Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Poulenc)
The other night she gave a truly wonderful recital at the Sala Verdi for the Società dei Concerti (accompanied by the pianist Robert McDonald), which was received with acclaim by the capacity audience. As a performer Midori seeks pure and simple beauty, displayed through a fascination of the senses. She approached four great composers – Bach, Brahms, Debussy and Poulenc – as though they were a single piece of silk, the caressing of which caused a thrill of pleasure.
Corriere della Sera

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