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Power of music

  • Midori Goto

By the time she turned 21 years old, former child prodigy Midori Goto already had started a foundation to bring music education to the inner-city children of New York City.

Over the last 21 years, the classical violinist has deepened her connection to the community, creating four organizations aimed at bringing the joy of music to children across the globe.

"A nurturing teacher or music program can open one's eyes to the power of music and set you along a path that includes a lifetime of music making," said the violinist, referred to simply as Midori. "There is such an opportunity for young people to find and share their unique voice through music."

As the culmination of a week-long Orchestra Residencies Program here, the Japanese-American violinist will perform with two of the Santa Rosa Symphony's youth orchestras at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Green Music Center's Weill Hall.

During the first half of the concert, Midori will perform Bach's Concerto in D minor for Two Violins side by side with three young soloists from the Young People's Chamber Orchestra (YPCO) directed by Aaron Westman.

During the second half of the concert, Midori will play Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin in E minor with the Youth Orchestra conducted by Richard Loheyde.

During the concert, 26 professional musicians from the Santa Rosa Symphony will be sprinkled throughout both youth orchestras, providing additional mentorship.

The Santa Rosa Symphony's Education Program was one of only two in the U.S. chosen this year for the week-long residency program. The other already took place in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Midori will be heading to Bahia, Brazil, and Capetown, South Africa, later this spring for the international version of the program.

"Working with students serves as a constant inspiration and reminder of why I do what I do as a performer and teacher," said Midori, who holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair in Music at USC's Thornton School of Music.

Ben Taylor, director of education at the Santa Rosa Symphony, said the program won the residency after filling out an application that outlined some of the goals they hoped to achieve and potential event concepts.

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