Japanese American National Museum
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 15, 2011

Chris Komai - - 213-830-5648


One-Time Prodigy to Answer Questions at Tateuchi Democracy Forum Program

Los Angeles

Violinist Midori, who rose to fame as a young prodigy almost 30 years ago, will discuss her career and her community engagement initiatives in a special public program, "A Conversation with Midori", set for Sunday, January 30, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Little Tokyo. The program will include a question-and-answer component.

This program is part of JapanOC, organized by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, which includes a series of programs that highlight the diversity of Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture. Begun in October of 2010, the series runs through April of 2011 and includes a performance by Midori on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 8 p.m., at Samueli Theater, Orange County Performing Arts Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. "A Conversation with Midori" is also part of the JapanOC series.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Midori began studying the violin under the direction of her mother, Setsu Goto, which led to her groundbreaking debut at age 11 with the New York Philharmonic at their New Year’s Eve concert at the invitation of conductor Zubin Mehta. She received a standing ovation for her performance, which led to her first recording at the age of 14 under the Philips record label.

Her career blossomed from that point, with a series of recordings and performances. Her life evolved in 1992 when Midori learned of severe cutbacks to arts education in New York City public schools. She conceived of an organization she called Midori & Friends, which has over the last 19 years grown into a multi-tiered 26-week course for school children, including instrument instruction, elementary music theory, choral singing and community concerts. Over 180,000 children have participated in Midori & Friends programs in every borough of New York City in the succeeding years (

With the belief that chamber music in small communities deserves support, Midori took the $50,000 she won as part of the Avery Fisher Prize in 2001 and established a new organization, Partners in Performance. The organization’s goal is to stimulate and reinforce local interest in recitals and chamber music, especially in smaller communities without the advantages of large urban centers, In Japan, Midori supports Music Sharing, an organization based in Tokyo whose goal is to augment the Japanese music curriculum by bringing Western classical music and traditional Japanese music of the highest caliber to young people throughout Japan.

Her own personal growth continued as she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and gender studies at the Gallatin School of New York University in 2000, graduating magna cum laude, and in 2005 she received her master's degree in Psychology. Midori currently holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair at USC’s Thornton School of Music and is a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations.

For this program, Tim Page, a professor at the USC Thornton School of Music, will interview Midori. Presented by the Japanese American National Museum and Philharmonic Society, this question and answer event is free, but RSVPs are requested. Seating is limited. To make reservations, please call the Philharmonic Society box office at (949) 553-2422.

Founded in 1954, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County is Orange County’s oldest and most recognized music organization, presenting the world’s most acclaimed symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, performing organizations and artists. A catalyst for cultural and educational development throughout its region, the Philharmonic Society is a key resident company in the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.



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