Midori, Robert McDonald to perform: Works of Beethovan, Elgar included in violin-piano recital

by Nicole Tsong | 11/6/97 6:00am

As a child prodigy, her brilliance on the violin amazed, but for the violinist Midori, musical maturity and expressiveness is what has now captured the spotlight.

She was celebrated for her musical prowess as a child, but critics such as William Glackin of the Sacramento Bee in 1996 recognized her mature musical abilities, "Here is a mature artist with all the brilliance that made her famous, now used with passion and control in the service of musical intelligence and personal feeling."

Although the world-class musician is only a tender 26 years old, she has performed on stages all over the world for the past 15 years of her life.

Midori was born in Osaka, Japan and began playing under the tutelage of her mother at the age of four.

Her guest debut with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in 1982 at the age of 11 launched her career.

The demand for her performances range from some of the most renowned orchestras in the world to collaborations with great artists such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Isaac Stern.

For a number of years, her transition from a child prodigy to a mature musician was questioned by those who watched her already astounding career, but as Joe Banno of The Washington Post said in 1995, "She shows no sign of squandering that early promise or pandering to the 'greatest hits.'"

Although the fears of stunted musical maturity has been debated for a number of years, Midori has taken only one short hiatus in her career as a violinist and has already been lauded with a number of awards, from the Los Angeles Music Center's Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award to the Japanese Government's Best Artist of the Year in 1988.

She was also nominated for a Grammy award in 1990 for her Paganini Caprices for Solo Violin, as well as television appearances ranging from CNN to "The Tonight Show" and participation in numerous gala concerts, including salutes to Nathan Milstein and Leonard Bernstein.

Midori does not limit herself to recitals and appearances with symphonies, though, but also spends time during the summer at Vermont's Marlboro Music festival revelling in her love for chamber music.

She has also established a non-profit organization called Midori & Friends(The Midori Foundation) that provides concerts and other educational activities for children with little opportunity for direct contact with the arts.

She is extremely active with the foundation and often performs for these special concerts.

Midori will perform today with pianist Robert McDonald.

McDonald, a celebrated pianist in his own right, frequently collaborates with Midori in a combination appreciated by many.

Marilyn Manta of The Davis Enterprise said, "String and piano are sometimes said to be antagonistic instruments; whoever says that has not heard Midori and McDonald."

Midori's performance should prove to be an extraordinary experience for the audience, if not for her musicality and passion on the violin, then for her prodigal technique.

According to Josef Woodard of the Los Angeles Times, "If anything, she dispatches demanding music with a disconcerting effortlessness, an impression seconded by her refusal to exert any kind of 'stage presence.'"

She will perform works for violin by Beethoven, Brahms, Elgar and Szymanowski tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium.

Tickets for the event are $27.50 for the general public and $12.50 for Dartmouth students.

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