Division: Classical Performance and Composition
Chair, Strings Department; Jascha Heifetz Chair in Violin
Office: RHM 112
The violinist and educator Midori Goto has maintained an international presence for almost three decades, first as a performer, and increasingly as a musical community engagement advocate, and educator. She currently performs close to 100 concerts a year worldwide, leads varied community-involving and charitable projects, and serves on the violin faculty, as Distinguished Professor and chair of the strings department, and Jascha Heifetz Chair in Violin at the USC Thornton School of Music.
A debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 launched her career, and a front-page story in the New York Times three years later helped in the formation of a major international career. Performing as Midori—first name only —she has spent her decades before the public in virtually every major international capital and cultural center, performing in a wide range of the greatest musical venues.
Midori’s performing schedule is balanced between recitals, chamber music performances and appearances with the world’s most prestigious orchestras. Her discography runs to dozens of recordings, culminating most recently in The Essential Midori, a compilation issued by Sony Masterworks, the label with which she has collaborated over the decades.
Midori Goto has built upon her fame by founding a series of successful not-for-profit organizations and other ongoing youth-directed projects. Midori and Friends, created in New York City in 1992, brings musical education to underprivileged children, in partnership with the city’s public schools. Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., and Music Sharing, formed in Japan, bring deeply committed music-making into smaller communities, those typically underserved by live arts presented at the highest levels. In recognition of such activities, the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, named Midori a “Messenger of Peace” in 2007.
Goto’s duties at the USC Thornton School of Music allow her an impact as not merely a professor, but also as a department head. Her own education is varied, including a Master’s degree in Psychology from New York University in 2005, thus adding to her innovative ideas as a pedagogue. With equal commitment to searching performances of the classical musical literature and to contemporary composition, while bringing the fruits of experience and passion to students at all levels, and also to often-overlooked populations, Midori Goto is at the forefront of enriching the lives of many different kinds of people around the world.
“It is an honor to teach. Learning begins when given information starts to be interpreted, executed, nurtured, and internalized, leading us to infinite opportunities.
In our studio, the tenets of Honesty, Health, and Dignity guide us through the times of trial, self-doubt, self-questioning, and growth. The values of discipline and honesty find their way into perseverance in daily practice and in the diligent training of the ears, guiding us to approach any piece with humility and respect.
“Honesty comes only with sound health, physically and psychologically, and an honest mind cannot be separated from the most genuine acknowledgment of expression. It should be recognized that pure perfection is unobtainable. Therefore, the realization that one’s irrevocable faults and deficiencies must be faced guides us toward the first step of learning. We must each accept any situation as it actually is, with dignity. In that fine balance of acceptance of self and the mission to better oneself, compassion, humility, and discipline are nurtured.” – Midori Goto