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Posted May 6, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Violinist Midori to play at Shenandoah

By Laetitia Clayton - lclayton@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- As part of this year's Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, violinist Midori -- with special guest pianist Charles Abramovic -- will perform at Shenandoah University on Friday evening.

Midori, who has played the violin since she was very young, has performed with orchestras all over the world, and made her first recording when she was only 14, according to information on the music festival's website, www.musicfest.org.

She was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother at age 3. She and her mother moved to New York, where Midori studied at Julliard's pre-college. She was invited to play as a guest soloist for the New York Philharmonic's New Year's Eve concert in 1982, where she received a standing ovation, the website says, and that was only the beginning.

Although Midori still performs, she said she feels that her "commitment to sharing music goes further than giving concerts."

To that end, she has established several community-directed initiatives over the years, such as Midori & Friends, Music Sharing and Partners in Performance. These organizations strive to bring music to people and places that might not otherwise have access to it.

"Music finds its natural place within people and should not be restricted to a specific physical place," Midori said recently by e-mail. "It should be heard wherever it can be heard, at whatever or no cost. I really do believe that the arts have the capacity to make an impact for various populations."

Midori's devotion to music education involves not only her extensive community engagement efforts but also a commitment to her work at the University of Southern California, according to her website, www.goto-midori.com.

At USC's Thornton School of Music, Midori holds the prestigious Jascha Heifetz Chair, and also serves as chair of the strings department, the site says. She also provides private violin instruction and chamber music coaching to her students. Midori actively performs with her students both on and off campus, and enjoys working with young violinists in master classes all over the world, the website says.

Friday's concert at SU is part of the Partners in Performance program that Midori created in 2003 using money she won as part of the Avery Fisher Prize in 2001. PiP's aim is to bring high-profile chamber music performances to small community-based organizations in the United States.

"Communities who rally together and support the arts often find that the camaraderie trickles over into other aspects of their lives," she wrote. "I know first-hand that music can have effects to soothe, to inspire, to entertain, and to enrich our lives as a whole. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a musical home, and through my various projects, I hope that I can share that joy with others."

Charles Abramovic

Abramovic has won critical acclaim for his international performances as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborator with leading instrumentalists and singers. He has performed a vast repertoire on not only the piano but also the harpsichord and fortepiano. He made his solo orchestral debut at age 14 with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Florida Philharmonic and the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra. He has given solo recitals throughout the United States, France and Yugoslavia. He has also appeared at major international festivals in Berlin, Salzburg, Bermuda, Dubrovnik, Aspen and Vancouver. (Information is from www.musicfest.org.)

The concert by Midori and Abramovic will be held at 8 p.m. Friday in Armstrong Concert Hall on the Shenandoah University campus in Winchester. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students. All seating is reserved. For tickets and information, call 459-3396 or 800-459-3396.

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