2020 Kennedy Center Honors

Midori took part in several events that made up the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors over the week of May 17, 2021.

The annual celebration of awards for lifetime achievement in the arts was postponed from its usual early December date and restructured due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Taped excerpts are being assembled in a two-hour primetime special to be broadcast on CBS television on June 6th.

Midori is one of five honorees, joining singer Joan Baez, country musician Garth Brooks, dancer-choreographer-actor Debbie Allen and actor Dick Van Dyke.

The recipients were invited to the White House, where they were welcomed by President Biden. They were later fêted at two tribute concerts and took part in a Q&A with members of the press.

The culmination of events, the presentation of medallions, was held on Friday evening May 22nd on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage before 128 guests hosted by Gloria Estefan, a 2017 honoree. The ceremony included tributes – conductor Zubin Mehta spoke about Midori – and each honoree made a short statement. Several expressed the hope that the modified medallion ceremony would be a cornerstone in the country’s cultural reopening.

Acknowledging her award, Midori said, “It is absolutely an honor for me to be in the illustrious company of such great, great, creative minds. The last few days here in Washington, D.C., have been an incredible experience for me for which I would like to thank everyone at the Kennedy Center and the Honors.

Springtime in our capital is always beautiful. This is a very special season for us. However, I find that this season—this year—is made especially meaningful because we are witnessing our nation emerging from this dark pandemic, and also the arts starting to blossom again.

However, I do recognize that this season has not been an easy one for everyone. I would like to acknowledge artists who are struggling to get back on their feet.

As well, I would like to thank and acknowledge the first responders and essential workers without whom none of us would have been able to be here this evening. …. Thank you very, very much for all you have done. For our country, and for us, for everyone. And, going forward, I hope you will consider us artists as your partners as we strive to bring back beauty, inspiration, peace, and courage to everyone’s lives. Thank you very much.”

The 2020 Kennedy Center Honors will air June 6 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The event will also be available to stream on demand on the CBS app and on Paramount+.

Midori’s career started with a fleeting moment. It’s evolved into a lasting legacy. (Washington Post)

Midori reflects on her quintessential prodigy story and what it means to be a performer (PBS Newshour)

PiP Virtual Events during the Covid Concert Gap


With “normal” concert-going on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Midori has reached out to current and past recipients of PiP (Partners in Performance) grants – members of the PiP family, so-to-speak – with an offer of virtual events for their subscriber and ticket-holder communities.

These events have included a virtual recital with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute (a pre-recorded performance video consisting of sonatas by Grieg and Franck, some followed by live Q&A sessions), talking program notes (live presentations followed by Q&As with attendees), masterclasses and Inclusion/Advocacy workshops (live presentations by Midori followed by open discussions with panelists or participants).

To date, these PiP Virtual Events have taken place in Dawson, Minnesota; Ridgecrest, California; Indialantic, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Warm Springs, Virginia; Rockport, Maine; Corrales, New Mexico; Paonia Colorado; and Charleston, South Carolina.

To find out more about the presenters who have held PiP events this spring, please click on the links below:

Dawson, MN: Dawson-Boyd Arts Association

Ridgecrest, CA Ridgecrest Chamber Music Society

Indialantic, FL Melbourne Chamber Music Society

Honolulu, HI Honolulu Chamber Music Series

Warm Springs, VA Garth Newel Music Center

Rockport, ME Bay Chamber Concerts

Corrales, NM Music in Corrales

Paonia, CO Blue Sage Center for the Arts

Charleston, SC Chamber Music Charleston



Midori to Receive Kennedy Center Honor in Recognition of Lifetime Artistic Achievement

Midori has been chosen as a recipient of the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors. The other honorees are Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks and Dick Van Dyke.

“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “With an international presence for over 35 years, violinist Midori combines graceful precision and expression for performances building connections between art and the human experience”

Acknowledging the honor from the United States’s National Cultural Center, Midori said, “Artists have a singular responsibility, through our work and deeds, to echo and mirror our society and serve its needs. As a new chapter of life is about to begin for all of us, I especially feel the current moment’s necessities and opportunities to explore a spring of new and preserved energies and discoveries, to play my part in seeking various avenues and forms of creativity and recovery. From an early age, I have been gifted with extraordinary experiences. I consider them to be my treasure and fortune that I might now draw upon. I wish to accomplish much going forward. My plans are to be making music again, in both pioneering and traditional ways, to sing out and to stir what lies within us, to describe mysteries, of the heart and of the mind. So, in the spirit of peace and connectivity through this country and the world, I am thrilled to be a recipient of one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, as we, together, reach toward renewed expression of the dreams and hopes that unify us all.”

The 2020 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, traditionally held in December, was postponed until May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said, “2020 has shined a bright light on the impact of how art and culture speaks to our collective human experience. It can meet us at any moment—and sustain us during the most challenging days. Each of the 43rd Kennedy Center Honorees and their work continues to speak to American culture and our national fortitude. We are thrilled to be able to fete these cultural icons in a time where the world and the nation needs the arts more than ever.”

For an article announcing this year’s awards, Midori told The New York Times that the pandemic had given her a renewed sense of appreciation for performing in front of an audience: “It made me realize how precious the moments of being able to do things live are.”

The Honors recipients are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Kennedy Center’s Board of Trustees in recognition of their contributions to American culture through the performing arts. An Honoree medallion ceremony for the Honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during the week of May 17–22. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast in the United States on CBS television as a two-hour primetime special on June 6, 9 p.m. ET.

A Greeting from Midori

Dear Friends,

We are at the end of an incredibly challenging year. In 2020 there have been so many tragic losses – of lives, of the stuff of life. Through the pandemic’s ravages, so many careers, businesses and institutions have been threatened or badly damaged. I do not know of anyone who has not somehow been affected by all of this. Beyond this year’s immediate health crisis, we continued to face violent greed and brutality, injustices and inequalities, as well as all manner of natural disasters.

Under these conditions, can we have hope for our future, for this world our children will inherit? Can we truly make sense of what has happened and can we learn from it?

In the face of all of this, I find reason for some optimism. I never forget that throughout history, humans have demonstrated resilience as well as destructiveness. We find reserves of moral strength within ourselves. We retain the capacity for coming together, in powerful, regenerative ways.

I believe that it is such togetherness, and our love and respect for others, which will help us override the world’s current crises. In my own case, in recent months I did experience some positiveness, and that kept me from losing faith in this life and world. It was certainly frustrating to be mostly limited to online connections with the people in my life — but through that, real warmth did come through from time to time, and I have never been more encouraged.

I hope that we will start a period of recovery in 2021. Along the way, I hope that we will have learned from all we have been through, leading to increasing mutual understanding and care. I look forward to a world which offers the possibility of people making meaningful connections among each other.


For an animated Season’s Greeting from Midori, please click here


Midori offers online workshops during the Covid pandemic through her Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP)

During the month of October, Midori was busy giving masterclasses and workshops throughout the United States via Zoom. The sessions were offered to young musicians, their parents and teachers. So far, she has worked with groups in Connecticut, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Indiana and New Mexico, with sessions continuing in November.

In addition to masterclasses on specific works, the other subjects of her workshops are:

  • How to Practice
  • Aural Heritage
  • How to Encourage and Support your Child to Practice Well, Encouraging Young People to Keep Music in their Lives Beyond High School
  • Life as Professional Musician: what steps to take and what to be prepared for if you want to make a living making music
  • Healing Through Music

For parents, teachers and administrators, she also offers a presentation on Advocacy and Community Engagement

These online activities are being offered at no charge to youth orchestras in good standing with the League of American Orchestras.

For more information about Midori’s ORP Covid-19 Support Program

View sessions on YouTube




Midori’s Beethoven Concerto performance with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is available for streaming until March 2021

Midori travelled to Glasgow in September to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and its music director Thomas Søndergård. Their performance is being streamed as part of the orchestra’s Covid-friendly digital season and will be available to watch until Sunday 14 March 2021.

Midori is Artist-in-Residence with the RSNO for the 2020-2021 season. She will also give the world-premiere with the orchestra of a new concerto composed for her by Detlev Glanert in January 2021.

Midori appears on the cover of the October 2020 Strad magazine

Midori is featured on the cover of the October 2020 issue of the Strad magazine.

In the magazine’s lead article, she speaks with Toby Deller about her preparation for the premiere of a concerto written for her by the German composer Detlev Glanert titled An die unsterbliche Geliebte (To the Immortal Beloved), inspired by Beethoven’s famous 1812 love letter and intended as a commemoration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

Midori also discusses her early curiosity about new music, her recitals focusing on works by contemporary female composers, her own education and her approach to teaching.

She speaks about her new recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and the two Romances, which will be released in mid-October by Warner Classics.

In conclusion, Midori muses on the near future for artists and audiences and on the power of music to heal: “Music is something that can bring smiles back to people, it’s something that can help  people grieve, it’s something that can help people be consoled, or to dream.”

Midori’s recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Two Romances to be released on October 16th by Warner Classics

Midori performs these works with the Festival Strings Lucerne on a recording made in early March 2020, just prior to the global pandemic lockdown.

The recording sessions had originally been planned around a concert performance with the orchestra at the KKL, Lucerne’s Culture and Congress Centre, and subsequent concerts in the UK, Singapore, China and Korea, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation or postponement of the entire tour. The Swiss concert was cancelled at less than 48 hours’ notice as Midori and the orchestra were already in the midst of rehearsals.

Midori explains: As everyone’s health and safety were of paramount concern, we were naturally obliged to follow official guidance. Nonetheless, we were grateful to receive permission to move ahead with our recording. Just beyond, a new and dangerous world was lurking … In retrospect, the recording experience felt as if we were racing against the clock, to still be making live music, in direct company of each other, breathing in harmony.

Through all of that, Beethoven guided my colleagues and me, his work focusing and inspiring us, our concentrations heightened, enveloped together in our musical efforts … Beethoven has provided a fortunate focus for me in such fraught times. I am reminded that he was a man of strong beliefs and a morality to which he fully committed, as an activist who took firm stands on many major issues of his day. At the same time, he maintained the discipline that allowed him to create profoundly beautiful, often serene music despite his many personal disappointments and struggles.

Beethoven’s determination still provides a model for humankind, leading us to recognize the best in our world as we reach toward the many achievements of which we are all potentially capable. Finding my place, as a musician, interpreting several of Beethoven’s masterpieces, grounds and inspires me today, as we all face many challenges ahead.


Midori takes part in observance of United Nations International Peace Day

United Nations to Highlight Importance of Global Ceasefire, Dialogue during International Peace Day Observance

Hundreds of students from across the globe will come together on 17 September in a virtual event to mark the 2020 International Day of Peace.  The Day, commemorated annually on 21 September, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 and is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace through observing 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire.

Organized under the theme “Shaping Peace Together”, activities this year will include the annual Peace Bell Ceremony and global student conference.  The student conference will include remarks by Messengers of Peace including Midori, Princess Haya, Paulo Coelho, Jane Goodall and Yo-Yo Ma.

Students will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Messengers of Peace before engaging in a dialogue about their visions for a peaceful world.  As the United Nations marks its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2020, this dialogue will be part of a global conversation on building the peaceful and prosperous future we want.

The event will link to a live feed of the Peace Bell Ceremony from the Peace Garden, which will begin at 11 a.m. EST

Secretary-General António Guterres and Volkan Bozkir (Turkey), President of the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly, will ring the Peace Bell in the company of Ishikane Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

There will be performances by top hip hop artists from New York, New Orleans and Poland and by the United Nations Singers, comprising United Nations staff members and others. The event will conclude with remarks by the Secretary‑General to student participants.

The Peace Bell Ceremony and student observance will also be broadcast live via United Nations webcast.

Midori’s Orchestra Residencies Program offers online workshops to support students, parents and teachers during the 2020-2021 season

Midori’s Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP) is pleased to offer a selection of online workshops to support youth orchestras during the 2020-2021 season in an effort to help keep young musicians engaged, motivated and excited during these unusual times.

These ORP offerings are available on a first-come, first-served basis and range from a masterclass to workshops on how to practice, presentations for parents and teachers and opportunities to speak with local legislatures.

The workshop activities are being offered at no charge to youth orchestras in good standing with the League of American Orchestras.

Each workshop is approximately one hour in length.

Category A: For Students
*This program could be supplemented with a short performance by Midori

• Violin and/or Chamber Music Masterclass * external mic recommended
• For String Players: How to Maintain Your Instrument
• Workshop: How to Practice
• Oral Heritage: Who to Listen to and What to Listen for

Category B: For Parents and Teachers
*May only be selected in addition to a workshop from Category A

• How to Support and Encourage Your Child to Practice Well
• Encouraging Young People to Keep Music in their Lives / Life Beyond High School

Category C: Advocacy and Leadership: In Conversation with Community Leaders or Music Directors
*May only be selected in addition to a workshop from Category A

• Advocacy Through and For Music
• Leadership in the Community
• Healing through Music: Discussing Midori’s role as a UN Messenger of Peace

Category D: Request Your Own Workshop
State how your proposed additional activity would support your youth orchestra. Please feel free to include additional pages or documents, if necessary.

Please access the 2020-2021 Orchestra Residencies Program requirements and submission form at the Eligibility and Applications tab of the ORP website