Midori has many strings to her bow

Michael Church
Friday 10 December 2010 01:00 GMT

Musical prodigies are fragile blooms, often destined to fade when the realities of adult life kick in, but one who has made the perfect transition is the petite Midori, now 38 and presiding over an ever-expanding pyramid of musical activities.

The organisation known as Midori and Friends – which takes music to children all over New York – has led to the creation of similar programmes in Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Indonesia, where Midori says music can allow children from warring religious groups to come together. Working in Vietnam, she says, "made me realise how spoilt we are in the West, and how selfish I was to assume they would take Christmas Day off, rather than working doggedly on. And I realised how chancy the children's lives are, how easily they can get killed by tractors on the garbage mountains where they work".

But these activities are only the tip of the iceberg: she maintains a gruelling performance schedule, and is chair of the strings department at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. "Teaching ties all the elements of my life together. My students are never away from my thoughts – there never passes a day that I don't think about them. I miss them terribly when I'm on the road."

Next up she performs Bruch's First Violin Concerto with Antonio Pappano and the LSO at London's Barbican on 15 December.


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