Midori made her debut aged 11 as a surprise guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in 1982. Today Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, a devoted and gifted educator, and an innovative community engagement activist. In 2007, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Midori a UN Messenger of Peace.
Midori plays up to 100 concerts a year, dividing her time between recitals, chamber music and concerto performances worldwide. In 2012 she chose to celebrate her 30th year on stage by playing the complete solo violin sonatas and partitas of J.S. Bach at major North American and European festivals, as well as at a series of historic cultural sites throughout Japan.
Named Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Southern California in 2012, Midori works with her students each year at USC’s Thornton School, where she is also Jascha Heifetz Chair and Chair of the Strings Department. She is guest professor at Soai University in Japan, and enjoys engaging young violinists in masterclasses sponsored by concert presenters all over the world throughout each season. To these commitments she adds substantial periods of time devoted to the four community engagement programs she has founded in the US and Japan: Midori & Friends, Partners in Performance, Orchestra Residencies Program and Music Sharing.
Midori’s enthusiasm for playing and supporting the music of our time has blossomed into a significant and ongoing commitment, and she has commissioned works for a great variety of forces. Overall, the individuals Midori has sought out to create new repertoire for the violin represent an impressive array of some of the most talented of today’s composers, including Lee Hyla, Rodion Shchedrin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Derek Bermel, Brett Dean, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Michael Hersch, Pierre Jalbert, Peter Eötvös and Johannes Maria Staud.
Midori has an extensive catalogue of recordings, including a disc of Mozart concertos with the NDR Sinfonieorchester and Christoph Eschenbach, and three discs with the Berlin Philharmonic – in works by Bruch and Mendelssohn with Mariss Jansons, by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich with Claudio Abbado, and by Bartók with Zubin Mehta. Dozens of 4084_Midori-cd-BL1_v6_. 23/08/2013 17:12 Page 6 composers are represented on her solo and recital discs, extending from Bach through Beethoven, Debussy, Prokofiev and Ysaÿe to this, her most recent recording, of works by Shostakovich, Janácˇek and Bruch.