Midori is a visionary artist, activist and educator who explores and builds connections between music and the human experience and breaks with traditional boundaries, which makes her one of the most outstanding violinists of our time. She will mark the 40th anniversary of her professional debut this 22-23 season, celebrating a remarkable career that began in 1982, when she debuted with the New York Philharmonic at age 11.
In concerts around the world Midori transfixes audiences, bringing together graceful precision and intimate expression. Midori has performed with, among others, the London, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras; the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics; the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and Festival Strings Lucerne. She has collaborated with such outstanding musicians as Claudio Abbado, Emanuel Ax, Leonard Bernstein, Jonathan Biss, Constantinos Carydis, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Yo Yo Ma, Susanna Mälkki, Joana Mallwitz, Antonello Manacorda, Zubin Mehta, Tarmo Peltokoski, Donald Runnicles, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Omer Meir Wellber.
This anniversary season is marked by a new recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin performed by Midori and Jean-Yves Thibaudet – a landmark recording of two artists at the height of their careers (Warner Classics). To accompany their release, Midori and Thibaudet perform all ten sonatas over three concerts at Dartmouth College and a concert in Chicago. Another highlight of the anniversary season is a project that combines two lifelong passions – the music of Bach and newly commissioned music – in a solo recital tour featuring Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin alongside works by contemporary composers; the tour includes a return to Carnegie Hall in February and concerts in Washington, DC, Seattle and Vancouver, and in San Francisco, Irvine and La Jolla. Midori also appears this season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
Midori’s European engagements this season include opening the Volksoper Wien 2022/23 season as the Orchestras' first Artist-in-Residence and appearances with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Paris Mozart Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, and a tour of Spain with the Orquestra Simfònica Camera Musicae. She will perform in chamber music concerts in Köln, Hamburg and London; and solo Bach programs at major German festivals in Dresden, Bonn and Ludwigsburg. In addition to other concerts in Europe and Asia, she appears in Residency at Suntory Hall in Tokyo in November.
Midori’s diverse discography includes the 2020 recording with the Festival Strings Lucerne of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and two Romances on Warner Classics; recordings on Sony Classical, Ondine and Onyx include the music of Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich and a Grammy Award-winning recording of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra as well as Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin filmed at Köthen Castle for Accentus.
As someone deeply committed to furthering humanitarian and educational goals, she has founded several non-profit organizations, and last season, she was able to offer programs in person for the first time in two years. Midori & Friends, celebrating its 30th year of service this season, provides music programs for New York City youth and communities, and MUSIC SHARING, a Japan-based foundation, brings both western classical and Japanese music traditions to children and adults in Japan and throughout Asia by presenting programs in schools, institutions, and hospitals. For her Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP), Midori commissioned composer Derek Bermel to write a new piece, “Spring Cadenzas,” which was premiered (mostly virtually) by student orchestras in 2021 and continues to be performed by ORP participants. Through Partners in Performance (PiP), Midori co-presents chamber music concerts around the U.S., focusing on smaller communities that are outside the radius of major urban centers and have limited resources.
In recognition of her work as an artist and humanitarian, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Last season, she participated in a panel discussion, hosted by The Peace Studio, about what music can teach us about peaceful communication, alongside Joyce DiDonato and Wynton Marsalis; she delivered the Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture in the Humanities at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute (about non-profit leadership and volunteering); and she was awarded the Asian Cultural Council’s John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award for her contributions to the field of arts and cultural exchange. In 2022, Midori was also awarded the Brahms Prize by the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. In recognition of her lifetime of contributions to American culture, Midori is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and was celebrated by Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler and John Lithgow, among others, during the May 2021 Honors ceremonies in Washington, DC.
Last season’s concert highlights included the premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Midori’s appearance in Carnegie Hall’s benefit Concert for Ukraine.
Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve concert, where the foundation was laid for her following career. Midori is the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.
Duo recital with Pianist Ozgur Aydin (2024/25):
Spirituals (new commission for violin and electronics)
Brahms: Sonata No. 1 in G major, op. 76
Poulenc: Sonata for Violin and Piano
Ravel: Kaddish (arr. Garban)
This program, of musical reflections on suffering and loss, is inspired by the Spanish writer, Federico García Lorca, and his poem, the "Casida of the Lament", written shortly before his assassination in the early days of the Spanish Civil War. Francis Poulenc’s Violin Sonata, composed during World War II, was dedicated to the great poet’s memory, while the Brahms Sonata #1 is in part based on Brahms songs which equate rain with tears, much as García Lorca’s Casida is saturated in a country’s weeping. Ravel set the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, while his Tzigane in part pictures the tribulations of a wandering life. A group of spirituals, performed in transcription, take on a special authority in the violin’s particular capacity for expressing pain and sorrow. These pieces depict spiritual verities that tie humanity together, in the depth and beauties of lamentation.
Contemporary Music & Commissions
Detlev Glanert, Violin Concerto No.2 (To the Immortal Beloved), 2021 (written for Midori)
Peter Eötvös, DoReMi, 2012 (written for Midori)
All-female recital program featuring the works of Gubaidalina, Neuwirth and Ali Zadeh
Outreach & Educational Engagement Projects
Midori & Friends
Partners in Performance
International Community Engagement Program
Orchestra Residencies Program
London Evening Standard
At times the violin was barely a breath in the air but Midori also produced throatiness and exuberance. The second movement dance slinked sensually, the closing movement had comic opera humour: this performance had not an ounce of excess weight.
...Stylish even in extreme passion – Midori and Charles Abramovic delight their audience at the Mozarteum ... Whether in Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, Tchaikovsky or Rautavaara, Midori has a technical finesses and certainty of style that are unmatched...
...the kind of artist who charms her audience with her refined, fragile expertise; a graceful, beguiling tone..