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Midori finally coming to S.L.

Ex-child prodigy will perform with Utah Symphony

Ever since Midori's debut 20 years ago — as a precocious 11-year-old — with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, she has fascinated and captivated audiences with her artistry as few violinists before and since.

Midori's impassioned playing and her extensive repertoire have endeared her to concertgoers on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in China and her native Japan.

Now, after two decades of concerts, Midori will finally make it to Utah Friday and Saturday for a long overdue debut with the Utah Symphony in Abravanel Hall. Midori will be playing Elgar's formidable Violin Concerto. Music director Keith Lockhart will conduct.

For Midori, who makes her home in New York City, the 2002-03 season will see her performing with orchestras in San Francisco, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. In Europe, she will appear with the BBC Symphony, London Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic and the Gewandhaus Orchester in Leipzig. The season will also see her return to the New York Philharmonic under Mehta for a 20th anniversary concert.

A recent recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize and the "Instrumentalist of the Year" award from Musical America, Midori divides her time as an artist between orchestral performances and recitals with pianist Robert McDonald.

A large part of her time is devoted to her work with "Midori & Friends," a nonprofit organization that offers music education, workshops and concerts to children, mainly in New York City. She also started a similar organization in Japan that sponsors programs for school-age children and young adults.

Midori has recorded a number of CDs for Sony Classical since her debut recording in 1989 of the "24 Caprices" by Paganini. Her most recent album features Midori and McDonald in French violin sonatas. Midori has plans to record live the Bruch G minor Concerto and the Mendelssohn Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Besides the Elgar concerto, this weekend's concert will also include Brahms Symphony No. 3 in D major.

Friday and Saturday's concerts will be at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall. Tickets are $16-$47. For more information, phone 355-2787 or 1-888-451-2787. Subscribers should phone 533-6683; group discounts, 533-5626. Or go online to www.arttix.org.