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Biography

First Violin

A leading concert violinist for more than thirty years, Midori is a visionary artist, activist, and educator whose unique career has transcended traditional boundaries through her relentless drive to explore and build connections between music and the human experience. She brings the same dynamic innovation and expressive insight that has made her a prominent violinist to her other roles as a noted global cultural ambassador and dedicated music educator. She made her San Francisco Symphony debut in 1989.

Midori’s recent and upcoming engagements highlight her versatility with performances of orchestral and chamber works by Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Schumann, Hindemith, Brahms, Mozart, Franck, Respighi, Schubert, and Enescu in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. She makes guest appearances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Montreal Symphony. She tours Europe with the Munich Chamber Orchestra and Japan with the Estonian Festival Orchestra and Paavo Järvi. She undertakes a worldwide recital tour with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and performs trio concerts with pianist Jonathan Biss and cellist Antoine Lederlin.

In 2017, Midori celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of two of her non-profit organizations: Midori & Friends, which brings high-quality music education to New York City youth; and Music Sharing, a Japan-based program that serves local schools, institutions, and hospitals. Her other endeavors include Partners in Performance, which promotes interest in classical music outside of major urban centers across the US, and her Orchestras Residencies Program, which encourages lifelong performing arts engagement for young musicians in the US and beyond.  

In 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Midori a Messenger of Peace, and in 2012 she received the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 2018 she joined the violin faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music; previously she held the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music for fourteen years. She continues her involvement at USC in a visiting artist role as Judge Widney Professor of Music alongside a visiting artist position at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

Midori completed degrees in psychology and gender studies at the Gallatin School of New York University. She plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù “ex-Huberman” violin and uses four bows: two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.

(April 2019)