Midori to Receive Kennedy Center Honor


January 14, 2021, 1:00 PM · Violinist Midori is one of five artists who will receive Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievement this May. Her award is part of the 2020 Kennedy Center Honors, originally planned for early December but postponed until May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other recipients to be honored at the 43rd annual national celebration of the arts are Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks and Dick Van Dyke.

Violinist Midori. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “…with an international presence for over 35 years, violinist Midori combines graceful precision and expression for performances building connections between art and the human experience.”

Midori said in a statement that the artists will serve an especially important role in helping the world recover from the difficulties of a global pandemic.

“Artists have a singular responsibility, through our work and deeds, to echo and mirror our society and serve its needs,” Midori said. “As a new chapter of life is about to begin for all of us, I especially feel the current moment’s necessities and opportunities to explore a spring of new and preserved energies and discoveries, to play my part in seeking various avenues and forms of creativity and recovery. From an early age, I have been gifted with extraordinary experiences. I consider them to be my treasure and fortune that I might now draw upon. I wish to accomplish much going forward. My plans are to be making music again, in both pioneering and traditional ways, to sing out and to stir what lies within us, to describe mysteries, of the heart and of the mind. So, in the spirit of peace and connectivity through this country and the world, I am thrilled to be a recipient of one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, as we, together, reach toward renewed expression of the dreams and hopes that unify us all.”

Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto at an early age. In 1982, conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve concert, where the foundation was laid for her following career. Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows—two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.

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If you’d like to see Midori perform live, this weekend she will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Houston Symphony Orchestra; click here to purchase livestream tickets (or limited seating, if you happen to be in Houston).

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