The violinist will head the institute’s piano and strings programme beginning this autumn, succeeding Miriam Fried


Midori © Nigel Parry

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Violinist Midori has been appointed artistic director of Ravinia Steans Music Institute (RSMI) piano and strings programme, effective from autumn 2023 to begin overseeing the 2024 summer season. Midori succeeds Miriam Fried, who has held the position since 1994, following the tenures of the late Robert Mann (1988) and Walter Levin (1989–93).

’I am very much looking forward to being involved in RSMI in this new capacity,’ said Midori of her new appointment. ’Working with young musicians has been central to my career, and this programme is one of the most important of its kind in the music field. It has been led for the last 30 years by Miriam Fried, and I am honoured to inherit her remarkable legacy as I lead the programme forward in the coming years.’

Midori’s appointment comes as Fried prepares to welcome the 2023 cohort of piano and strings programme fellows for their residency from 19 June to 22 July, which will be Fried’s 30th and final season as director of the programme. 

’I would like to add my warmest welcome to Midori,’ said Fried. ’In addition to her artistry, wisdom, and integrity, she brings her unending passion for music and the education of young people. The Steans Institute will be in wonderful hands.’

As the piano and strings artistic director, Midori will lead young professional violinists, violists, cellists, pianists, and members of pre-existing chamber groups through immersive and intensive rehearsals and coachings with a rotating roster of experienced teaching artists, including herself. The programme concentrates on interpretation and small-group collaboration through the practice and performance of classical sonata and chamber repertoire. The 2024 programme takes place from 23 June to 24 July.

Midori marked the 40th anniversary of her professional debut during the 2022–23 season, celebrating her career that began in 1982, when she debuted with the New York Philharmonic at age eleven.

During this anniversary season, Midori released a new recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Warner Classics). Another highlight has been a project that combines two lifelong passions—the music of Bach and newly commissioned music—in a national solo recital tour featuring Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin alongside works by contemporary composers, including an appearance at Carnegie Hall in February 2023.

Midori has founded several non-profit organisations to bring music to children and underserved communities. In recognition of her work as an artist and humanitarian, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and in 2021, she was named a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born in Osaka in 1971, she began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. Midori is the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She plays the 1734 Guarneri del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’ violin and uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.

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