Midori is one of the most admired violinists of her generation. In addition to performing at the highest levels internationally, giving master classes and participating in prominent artistic residencies, she has made a sustained commitment to the violin repertoire of the future, commissioning new concerto and recital works over a period of many years.
Beyond her performing and recording career, Midori has been recognized as a dedicated and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the developing world. Among many honors she has received in recent years, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and received the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
In recent seasons, Midori has added several new recordings to her extensive discography – Bach’s complete Solo Sonatas and Partitas, a recital of sonatas by Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich with pianist Özgür Aydin, and Paul Hindemith’s violin concerto with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach in a recording that won a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium. In February 2016, Sony Classical released The Art of Midori, a 10-CD set containing some of her most important recordings for the label. DoReMi, the violin concerto written for her by Peter Eötvös and performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the baton of the composer, was released in May 2016.
In 1992 Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York City that brings music education programs to underserved schoolchildren. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Midori’s commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realized in her Orchestra Residencies Program, which involves week-long residencies with American youth orchestras.
Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, Zubin Mehta invited the11-year-old Midori to make her debut at 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.
Today, in addition to her performing and outreach activities, Midori serves as Distinguished Professor of Violin and holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is also a Guest Professor at Japan’s Soai University and at Shanghai Conservatory and an Honorary Professor at the Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music.
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.