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The Kids' Corner

Let's Talk About:
Women's History

Midori’s talent as violinist emerged at young age

At the tender age of 3, Midori knew what she wanted. She wanted to play the violin, just like her mother. Setsu Goto presented a violin to her precocious daughter and as she watched the girl use the bow to stroke the strings with a mysterious understanding, she realized Midori possessed a natural talent.

By the time Midori was 4, lessons had begun in earnest, with her mother as her teacher. Goto took the energetic girl from Japan to New York City for intense instruction by other teachers.

In 1982, Zubin Mehta, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, listened with rapture to the extraordinary 11-year-old violinist in a personal performance. He invited her to be the surprise guest soloist at the orchestra’s New Year’s Eve concert. The people in the audience that evening rose to their feet to give a cheering ovation to the slender and poised girl. Midori was a hit in the classical music world.

Midori’s exceptional career continues to this day. Her expressive and vibrant violin-playing has taken her all over the United States and the world, from Berlin, Beijing and Boston to Cleveland, Seattle, Paris and Amsterdam, from Israel to her native Japan. Midori, now 28, performs about 80 recital and concert performances a year.

Midori enthusiastically shares her love of music with children in Japan and New York City. Of her Midori Foundation, called Midori and Friends, she says, "The aim is to inspire children through music … to learn about other cultures and discipline and dedicating yourself to something you love very much." Besides her active recording career, Midori finds time to perform in 120 foundation concerts each year with the help of the Maia Quartet, pianist Emanuel Ax and other chamber and recital musicians.

— By Emily L. Bell


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