Midori Gotō

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Midori Gotō
SASymphony (1).JPG
Midori receiving a standing ovation at San Antonio Symphony at The Majestic Theatre, San Antonio, September 2007
Background information
Born (1971-10-25) October 25, 1971 (age 42)
Origin Osaka, Japan
Genres Classical
Occupations Violinist
Instruments Violin
Website gotomidori.com

Midori Gotō (五嶋 みどり Gotō Midori?) (born October 25, 1971) is a Japanese American violinist. She made her debut at the age of 11 in a last-minute change of programming during a concert highlighting young performers by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. When she was 21, she formed the philanthropic group Midori and Friends to help bring music to children in New York City.[1] In 2007, she was selected as a UN Messenger of Peace.[2][3]


She is usually referred to simply as Midori. She was born in Osaka, Japan. She was first taught the violin by her mother, Setsu Gotō. Her mother discovered her daughter's innate musicality at the age of two, when she found Midori humming a Bach theme she had rehearsed a few days earlier. She started taking piano lessons first but quit within three months. On her third birthday, her grandmother gave her a 1/16 size violin, whereupon her mother decided to teach her the violin.

Midori gave her first public performance at the age of six, playing one of the 24 Caprices of Paganini in her native Osaka, Japan. In 1982 she and her mother moved to New York City, where Midori started violin studies with Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard Pre-College. As her audition piece, Midori performed Bach's 13-minute Chaconne, generally considered one of the most difficult solo violin pieces ever written. In the same year, she made her concert debut with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, a conductor with whom she would record many concertos on the Sony Classical label. In 1986 came her now legendary performance of Leonard Bernstein's Serenade at Tanglewood, during which she broke two E strings, first on her own 7/8-size Amati and then on concertmaster Malcolm Lowe's Stradivarius after she borrowed it. She finished the performance with associate concertmaster Max Hobart's Guadagnini, calmly thanking him afterward for allowing her to use it. Bernstein, who was also the conductor, knelt before her in awe. The next day The New York Times front page carried the headline "Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins".[4]

When Midori was 15, she decided to leave Juilliard Pre-College after approximately four years there. About five years later in 1992, she formed Midori and Friends, a non-profit organization that aims to bring quality music education to inner-city children in New York City.[2][3] In 2001, Midori received the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize and started a foundation program called Partners in Performance with the prize money. In subsequent years, Midori inaugurated two further community-based projects, the University Residencies Program and the Orchestra Residencies Program.

Midori is the recipient of the 25th Suntory Music Award (1993).

In 2000, Midori graduated from the Gallatin School at New York University with a degree in psychology, and earned a master's degree in psychology from NYU a few years later. She has been appointed the Jascha Heifetz Chair in Music at USC's Thornton School of Music, where she currently chairs the Strings Department. Previously, she was on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music. Midori is also a board member of the American String Teachers Association. In 2013 Midori was invited to the University of Oxford as Humanitas Visiting Professor in Classical Music and Music Education. Midori resides in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys reading, writing, and attending the theatre. Her brother Ryu is also a violinist.


Midori plays on the 1731 Guarnerius del Gesù "ex-Huberman" violin which is on lifetime loan to her from the Hayashibara Foundation. Her bows are made by Dominique Peccatte (two) and by François Peccatte (one).


  • Bach/Vivaldi: Double Violin Concertos, Bach Concerto in D Minor, Concerto in E; Vivaldi Concerto in C Minor, Concerto in A Minor Op 3 No. 8; Philips 3/1986
  • Paganini: 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op.1
  • Bartók: Concerto No.1 for Violin and Orchestra, Op. Posth., Bartók: Concerto No.2 for Violin and Orchestra
  • Midori "Live At Carnegie Hall"
  • Dvořák: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 53, Dvořák: Romance in F minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 11, Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Op 92
  • Encore!
  • Sibelius: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 47, Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46
  • Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, Elgar: Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor, Op. 82
  • Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 35, Shostakovich: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.1 in A minor
  • Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major, KV. 364/320d, Mozart: Concerto in D Major, KV. Anh. 56 (315f)
  • Poulenc: Sonata for Violin and Piano, Debussy: Sonata in G Minor for Violin and Piano, Saint-Saëns: Sonata No.1 in D minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 75
  • Midori's 20th Anniversary CD
  • Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 64, Bruch: Concerto No.1 for Violin and Orchestra in G Minor, Op. 26
  • Bach/Bartók: Bach Sonata No. 2 in A minor BWV 1003, Bartók: Sonata No. 1 (with Robert McDonald)
  • The Essential Midori


  1. ^ Wright, David (January 19, 2003). "What Has Midori Done for an Encore? Plenty". New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Anon (November 2007). "Midori Goto UN Messager of Peace". Highlighting Japan (Cabinet Office, Government of Japan) 1 (4): 24–25. 
  3. ^ a b Anon (November 6, 2008). "Midori Goto: From prodigy to peace ambassador". CNN International website - entertainment section (Cable News Network). Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Rockwell, John (July 28, 1986). "Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 

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