By Cody Schott
When she was 14 years old, violinist Midori took the stage at Boston Symphony Orchestraâs venue at Tanglewood.
While playing, she broke the E string on her violin. She was forced to take her concert masterâs instrument even though it was a different size than hers.
Again, she broke the E string. The situation seemed disastrous for the girl, but she grabbed another instrument, which was also a different size. She continued to play without being taken aback by the problems she faced. Applause erupted as Midori finished the piece.
World-renowned violinist Midori, 35, will be this yearâs Brown Family Speaker at the assembly on April 18.
In 2001, Abbott and Linda Brown (Russell â94, David â96) donated money to a school fund specifically to provide an annual program of prominent speakers for the community.
The first of this series of speakers was the late historian and âBand of Brothersâ author Stephen Ambrose who spoke in 2002.
Last year, the school invited jazz artist Herbie Hancock to perform in front of the Taper audience rather than having the assembly devoted to a speech.
âPeople get sick of talking heads,â President Thomas C. Hudnut said.
Hudnut and the Brown family are responsible for choosing the speaker. They elected to stick with another musician because Hancock was a âhuge hit.â
A good relationship with the USC Thornton School of Music, where Midori teaches part-time, also factored in the decision.
She will give master classes with string players just as Hancock did with jazz musicians a year ago.
Midori was attracted to the violin at a young age. At age four, she received her first violin.
She gave her first public performance at age seven in her hometown of Osaka, Japan.
A year later, she was brought to Aspen, CO by violin teacher Dorothy Delay. She later moved on to the pre-college division of the Juilliard School in New York.
The child prodigy debuted with the New York Philharmonic at age 10.
She toured Europe for the first time with the Boston Symphony Orchestra only a few years later.
Since then, Midori has traveled throughout the globe giving concerts. Last year alone she toured through Vietnam, Australia and Poland among other countries.
She has been featured as a soloist on more than 10 albums, most recently a series of concertos accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
She also focuses her time on community engagement organizations she created, such as Partners in Performances, which is aimed at expanding the reach of chamber music to communities outside the normal concert circuit.
Midori also established an orchestral residency program in which she donates her time to a series of intensive and hands-on workshops.