Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Midori Goto (五嶋 みどり; Gotö Midori) (born October 25, 1971 in Osaka, Japan) is known in music circles as one of the most brilliant and exciting violinists of our time. Usually referred to simply as "Midori" (she dropped the surname in response to the dissolution of her parents' marriage). She was first taught the violin by her mother, Setsu Goto, who discovered her daughter's innate musicality at the age of two, when she found her daughter humming a Bach theme she had rehearsed a few days ago.
Midori gave her first public performance at the age of six, playing a piece from the 24 Caprices of Paganini. She and her mother moved to New York in 1982, and started violin studies under the tutelage of renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. (For her audition piece, Midori elected to play the Bach Chaccone in its entirety.) In the very same year, Midori made her New York Philharmonic Orchestra debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta, a conductor with whom she would record many concertos under the Sony Classical label. 1985 marks a milestone in Midori's early career as a soloist. Her performance at Tanglewood is now legendary - not only did she break the E-string on her violin twice (she had to borrow violins from the concertmaster and associate concertmaster), but the conductor, Leonard Bernstein no less, knelt before her in awe and amazement. The next day the New York Times front page was "Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins."
When Midori was 15 years old, she left Juilliard on her own accord. In 1992, she formed Midori & Friends , a non-profit organisation that aims to share music with children who are less fortunate in city schools. In 2001, Midori received the prestigious Avery Fischer Prize , an award issued to outstanding musicians only once a year, if at all. With the award money, she started a foundation program called Partners in Performance . The following years have seen Midori inaugurate another community-based program called University Residency Program . Most recently, Midori has been appointed the Jascha Heifetz Chair in Music at the faculty of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She is also working on a master's thesis on pain. All this in addition to busy performing schedules in major international concert venues year round.
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