Classical fans get a taste of Midori
Area classical music buffs set out for Fergus Falls, Minn., today lured by the sweet sounds of violin virtuoso, Midori. The one-time headline-grabbing prodigy and now a top violinist, chose Fergus Falls and neighboring Dawson, Minn., population 1...
Area classical music buffs set out for Fergus Falls, Minn., today lured by the sweet sounds of violin virtuoso, Midori.
The one-time headline-grabbing prodigy and now a top violinist, chose Fergus Falls and neighboring Dawson, Minn., population 1,500, as settings for her coveted solo performances.
Almost 80 music lovers from Fargo-Moorhead will fill up the 450-seat Fergus Center for the Arts. Those include a busload of middle-school orchestra students, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony players and a college student from Japan bent on catching his famed compatriot in a rather unlikely spot.
"Midori is somebody you'd see with a major orchestra," said F-M Symphony cellist Alyssa Miller, "so that she's coming to a small town is pretty cool."
Midori stole the classical music spotlight in the 1980s when she made her concert debut with the New York Philharmonic at 11 and landed on the New York Times' front page at 14. She's since cultivated a reputation as a world-class performer and, more recently, as a champion of classical music outreach and education.
Two years ago, the Fergus Falls Center for the Arts and the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association applied for a chance to host Midori through the Partners in Performance program, which brings musicians to small communities.
Rebecca Petersen, executive director of the center, said strong classical programs and community support for the genre helped the two Minnesota towns beat out 13 other contenders.
"Sometimes we don't ask, and we don't explore what's possible," Petersen said. "I always tell people that wonderful things can happen in a small town if you have the enthusiasm and the energy."
Fans are coming to the sold-out shows in Fergus tonight and Dawson Friday from Bemidji, Worthington and - in a rare reversal - the Twin Cities.
Music lovers in Fargo soon heard of the uncommon opportunity and the surprisingly affordable tickets - $15 for adults and $5 for students.
Petersen, a violinist with the F-M Symphony, shared the news during rehearsals for the Masterworks I concert this fall.
Jane Linde Capistran, assistant concert master with the symphony and violin and viola teacher at Concordia, is going with three fellow Concordia faculty members and 14 students, including a Japanese saxophone student.
"My initial reaction was just mere astonishment," says Kohei Kameda, a senior from Tokyo, about hearing of the concerts. "I've visited numerous countries and major cities in the world, and I somehow come across my first chance to see Midori's performance while living in Minnesota."
Mary Weisser, a Fargo Ben Franklin Middle School orchestra teacher, and four colleagues are taking 45 students in grades seven through nine from four Fargo schools to the Fergus performance. Most hadn't heard of the violist, so she asked for names of popular football players to give them a sense of how big a deal the visit is.
"This will be a grand experience for them," Weisser said. "They don't have too many opportunities to hear a world-class player here."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529 Classical fans get a taste of Midori Mila Koumpilova 20071025