It’s somehow hard to fathom that a violinist as young as Midori could be marking the 30th anniversary of her professional debut. But she was just 11 years old in 1982 when she first stepped onto the stage with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic to perform the first movement of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
The industry’s — and our own — unhealthy addiction to prodigies these days comes with its own attendant skepticism about the murky waters that lie beyond the cute years. We secretly harbor doubts about what kind of artists they might become once they grow up. But Midori has proved cynics wrong by writing her own script for her adult career, earning an advanced degree in psychology, becoming highly involved in community engagement, and cultivating a significant interest in contemporary music. This season she will premiere a potentially important new violin concerto by the composer Peter Eötvös, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the BBC Proms. Musically speaking, she has grown into a mature artist.