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 season, celebrating a remarkable career that began in 1982, when she debuted with the New York Philharmonic at age 11.
In concert 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 the celebrated pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet – a landmark recording of two artists at the height of their careers (Warner Classics). Coinciding with the new release, Midori and Thibaudet perform all ten sonatas over three concerts at Dartmouth College and a single concert of three of the sonatas 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 in California. Midori also appears this season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony and Glacier Symphony (in Montana).
Midori’s European engagements this season include Brahms’ Violin Concerto at the Moritzburg and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festivals; a residency with the Volksoper Wien Orchestra and an appearance with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin; 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, which was recorded also for DVD (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.