A Greeting from Midori

Dear Friends,

The Year 2021 is coming to close. About this time last year, I was hoping we would be able to put the pandemic and its atrocities behind us in the forthcoming months and be able to find a new “norm”. As we have discovered, it was not so simple.

The last twelve months have given me much time to reflect, contemplate, and question who we are as people. We have been given opportunities to consider the choices we make while facing the fact that we are not invincible.

Sometimes we both overestimate and underestimate others and ourselves. We can fail to be thankful for what we have been given, and even assail or destroy these “gifts”. Resilience and vulnerability co-exist.

In 2022 I commemorate the 40th anniversary of my debut, as well as milestone anniversaries for three of my organizations: Midori & Friends, MUSIC SHARING, and Partners in Performance. Through all the various related activities, I hope to demonstrate and share what I have learned.

Midori

 

 

Midori to give world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (To the Immortal Beloved)


Detlev Glanert (Photo: Bettina Stöss)

The original plan was for Midori to give the premiere of Detlev Glanert’s new Violin Concerto No 2 (To the Immortal Beloved) alongside Beethoven’s violin concerto as part of her 2020/2021 Residency with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). Needless-to-say, Covid-19 put paid to that plan.

Written for Midori, the concerto, a four-way commission among the RSNO, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (Hamburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo) and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic, will finally be unveiled in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Hamburg in November and December 2021.

The RSNO performances will take place on November 5 and 6 in Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively, conducted by the orchestra’s music director Thomas Søndergård, and will also be available online from November 6. The Elbphilharmonie performance on December 10 will be conducted by Brad Lubman. Performances in Tokyo and Istanbul also had to be rescheduled and will follow in future seasons.

The subtitle of Detlev’s concerto, An die Unsterbliche Geliebte (To the Immortal Beloved), refers to the famous love letter that Beethoven wrote in 1812. The unsent letter, found in the composer’s papers upon his death, has caused speculation ever since as to the identity of ‘the Immortal Beloved’.

Midori had “asked Glanert to make a connection with the Beethoven concerto, as I wanted the possibility of including both in the same programme but didn’t specify what that should be.”

Glanert describes his new concerto as a ‘musical translation’ of the form and emotional currents of Beethoven’s famous letter. His scoring also replicates that of Beethoven’s concerto. In Midori’s words, the resulting work is “incredibly beautiful, very lyrical, full of drama and tension building.”

 

Midori Spotlight Program produced by Washington Performing Arts

“Perhaps no other artist of our time has had a more profound impact
on the development of string musicians and audiences throughout the world.
Her supreme musicianship, inspirational commitment to excellence, and
tireless advocacy for her chosen art form make this
a must-see experience for all music lovers.”

Douglas H. Wheeler, Washington Performing Arts President Emeritus

 

Washington Performing Arts (WPA) recently produced a Spotlight program showcasing Midori as performer and teacher and highlighting her Partners in Performance (PiP) organization with a panel discussion. Midori was named a recipient of WPA’s 2020 Ambassador of the Arts Award in recognition of extraordinary achievement, service, and advocacy in the performing arts.

Please click here for more information about Washington Performing Arts and the Ambassador of the Arts Award.

Click here to watch the program.

 

Master Classes in Weimar 2021

Midori will once again teach a group of young people in Weimar at this year’s master classes. The 61st edition of the Weimar master classes will take place between 23 and 31 July 2021 at the Hochschule Für Musik FRANZ LISZT and will include individual lessons, orchestra studio and participant concerts at the end of the course.

Conversation with Midori, Joyce DiDonato and Wynton Marsalis on what music can teach us about peaceful communication

In response to race-based hatred and recent acts of violence across the United States, The Peace Studio created a conversation series in which renowned thought-leaders, artists, journalists, and others can discuss the steps needed to begin building a culture that values peace and civility.

MSNBC Correspondent Trymaine Lee hosts a discussion with Midori, DiDonato and Marsalis as one of these “Conversations That #OfferPeace: Building Peace Through Music”.

The artists discuss where they see their work as musicians intersecting with the notion of being peacebuilders, collaboration and communication and how to empower young people.

The conversation will be available on AllArts TV and will stream live on NowThis News at 7 p.m. EST on June 28th.

            

On July 1 2021, Midori and the Festival Strings Lucerne will give the performance that was canceled as Covid-19 struck in early 2020

Following the Swiss Federal Council’s decision to allow large-scale events in enclosed spaces again as of July 1 2021, Midori and the Festival Strings Lucerne will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the KKL Luzern for more than 1,000 guests, sending out a sign of life for the entire industry.

Thursday, July 1 2021, 19:30 (CET), KKL Luzern
Festival Strings Lucerne, Daniel Dodds
Midori – violin
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major Op. 61
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B major Op. 60

The concert had originally been scheduled for March 1 2020, as Festival Strings Lucerne’s contribution to the 2020 Beethoven Year. With the announcement of the first restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, the concert was the first major event at the KKL Luzern that had to be canceled.

Midori and the Festival Strings Lucerne turned the cancellation of the concert into an opportunity to produce a recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto and the two Romances in the empty hall under studio conditions. The resulting CD was released in October 2020 by Warner Classics.

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.

Midori

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