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Expanding the World of Music
Violinist Midori at Smith College

Note: due to a family emergency, Midori has canceled events associated with her scheduled residency at Smith from Monday, March 27, through Thursday, March 30. Midori and her staff are working to retain the public recital scheduled for Friday, March 31, in John M. Greene Hall. Click here for details on cancellations.

Since making her well-chronicled public performance debut 24 years ago at age 10, the violinist Midori has built an astounding career as a performer, educator, recording artist and music advocate.

Now, Midori is one of the world’s leading violinists and has touched the lives of countless young musicians through her many community outreach programs.

One of those initiatives, the University Residencies Program, begun by Midori in 2003, will bring the legendary violinist to Smith next week, where she will spend five days in residence coaching student musicians, working with music faculty, visiting classes, and performing.

Her Smith residency, which will begin on Monday, March 27, will culminate with a public recital on Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m. in John M. Greene Hall, with pianist Charles Abramovic. Midori and Abramovic will perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schoenberg, Grieg and Lindberg. Tickets will be on sale for the concert in the Campus Center lower level during the week of her residency (click here for details) and at Northampton Box Office (586-8686).

Midori’s University Residencies Program (URP) is intended to strengthen connections among artists, students and faculty via brief residences at the nation’s colleges and universities by participating artists, of whom Midori is one. Through the program, Midori has also visited the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and North Park University in Chicago.

The URP is one among several non-profit initiatives launched by Midori that aim to enhance general musical education and assist the support of musical performance. At age 20, she began Midori & Friends, an educational and instrumental instruction program for public school children in New York City, where she lives part of the time. She also founded Music Sharing, a program in Japan that focuses on music education for young people.

Among her other non-profit programs are Total Experience, which brings artists together with audiences and communities; the Orchestra Residencies Program, in which she works with youth orchestras; Partners in Performance, which aims to broaden the audience for chamber music by bringing high-profile performances to small communities; and her Commissions Program, which supports the careers of contemporary composers.

Meanwhile, Midori continues to perform in about 100 concerts a year while splitting her time between New York City, where she teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, and Los Angeles, where she serves as the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Charles Abramovic, who will conduct a piano master class at Smith on Wednesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Earle Recital Hall, is a professor of piano at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, as well as an active soloist, accompanist and chamber musician, performing throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Nearly a quarter-century ago, when Midori began her storied career with a debut at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, a pre-adolescent girl with a half-sized violin, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who attended the performance, “went bananas,” he said.

“I sat there and tears started coming down my cheeks,” said Zukerman. “I turned to the audience and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know about you, but I have just witnessed a miracle.’”

Since then, Midori has performed with and assisted too many musicians to count. Next week, she will add to that list musicians at Smith.

3/21/06
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