Daniel Dodds is a violinist and pedagogue who has served as artistic director of the Festival Strings Lucerne since 2012, adding to his duties as first concertmaster of the ensemble, a post he assumed in 2000. Dodds, who is of Australian-Chinese ancestry, has performed as a soloist under such conductors Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Oksana Lyniv in collaboration with orchestras including the Festival Strings Lucerne, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian World Orchestra.
Dodds completed his violin studies with Gunars Larsens, his predecessor as concertmaster of the Festival Strings Lucerne, as well with Keiko Wataya in Utrecht, Holland. He has also participated in masterclasses with Rudolf Baumgartner, Franco Gulli and Nathan Milstein. Beside his performance schedule, Dodds currently teaches at the Musikhochschule of Lucerne. Both his work with the Festival Strings Lucerne and his critically acclaimed solo recording, Time Transcending (released by OehmsClassics), display his deep commitment to music of varying styles, spanning centuries.
He plays the Stradivarius “Hämmerle-Baumgartner” from 1717, on loan from the Festival Strings Lucerne Foundation, and the Stradivarius “Seillière” from c. 1680, owned by the Monika Widmer Foundation of Lucerne.
Festival Strings Lucerne
The Festival Strings Lucerne was founded in 1956, quickly establishing itself among the most distinguished chamber orchestras in Europe and around the world. The orchestra made its debuts at the Salzburg Festival in 1957, in New York in 1959, in Mexico City in 1963, in Tokyo in 1971, and in Sydney 1977.
The orchestra offers a wide-ranging repertoire in its own concert series at the Lucerne KKL and as guest ensemble at the Lucerne Festival, while regularly appearing at such European concert halls as Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Philharmonie Berlin, Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw, and the Vienna Musikverein.
The Festival Strings Lucerne, currently led by the violinist Daniel Dodds, was established as a string orchestra with harpsichord by the Viennese violin legend Wolfgang Schneiderhan and the Swiss conductor and violinist Rudolf Baumgartner. From the start, the ensemble has been committed to developing the noble glow and warmth of the Austro-Hungarian string sound tradition. Dodds, who was appointed artistic director in 2012, leads the orchestra from the concertmaster’s chair, continuing the example set by Baumgartner. Daniel Dodds
has particularly extended the scope of the ensemble, adding instruments as required, to facilitate performances of midsize symphonic repertoire.
The orchestra, whose repertoire ranges from baroque music to the contemporary, has premiered over one hundred works by such composers as Jean Françaix, Frank Martin, Bohuslav Martinů, Sándor Veress, Iannis Xenakis, Krzystof Penderecki, Klaus Huber, and Peter Ruzicka. The ensemble has recently collaborated with such leading musicians as Daniil Trifonov, Bernard Haitink, Rudolf Buchbinder, Mischa Maisky, and Midori.
The Festival Strings Lucerne has a long history of distinguished recordings, first on the Deutsche Grammophon label, with later recordings released by Decca, Eurodisc, Denon, Sony Classical, Pentatone, and Warner Classics. These include such memorable studio collaborations as with Clara Haskil performing Mozart, Pierre Fournier performing Haydn, and Zino Francescatti playing Bach.
Midori is a visionary artist, activist and educator who explores and builds connections between music and the human experience and breaks with traditional boundaries, which makes her one of the most outstanding violinists of our time.
In concert around the world, she transfixes audiences, bringing together graceful precision and intimate expression. Midori has performed with, among others, the London, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with such outstanding musicians as Claudio Abbado, Emanuel Ax, Leonard Bernstein, Jonathan Biss, Constantinos Carydis, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Yo-Yo Ma, Susanna Mälkki, Joana Mallwitz, Antonello Manacorda, Zubin Mehta, Donald Runnicles, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Omer Meir Wellber.
Midori’s latest recording with the Festival Strings Lucerne of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and two Romances was released in October 2020 by Warner Classics. Her diverse discography by Sony Classical, Ondine and Onyx includes recordings of Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich and a Grammy Award-winning recording of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra as well as Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin filmed at Köthen Castle, which was recorded also for DVD (Accentus).
As someone deeply committed to furthering humanitarian and educational goals, she has founded several non-profit organizations. Midori & Friends provides music programs for New York City youth and communities, and MUSIC SHARING, a Japan-based foundation, brings both western classical and Japanese music traditions into young lives in Japan and throughout Asia by presenting programs in schools, institutions, and hospitals. Throughout the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, she continued to create virtual programming for these organizations, which serve many different communities. She commissioned composer Derek Bermel to write a new piece, “Spring Cadenzas,” which was premiered (mostly virtually) by student orchestras in 2021 through Midori’s Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP) and will continue to be performed by ORP participants in future seasons; Midori also performed the piece this summer with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO. Through Partners in Performance (PiP), Midori co-presents chamber music concerts around the U.S., focusing on smaller communities that are outside the radius of major urban centers and have limited resources. During the pandemic, she recorded recitals that were shared with PiP audiences, and provided a series of live, virtual workshops to accompany the recorded performances.
In recognition of her work as an artist and humanitarian, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In recognition of her lifetime of contributions to American culture, Midori is the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and was celebrated by Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler and John Lithgow, among others, during the May 2021 Honors ceremonies in Washington, DC.
During 2020 and 2021, she also continued to perform, when possible, and appeared in recital (virtually and/or in person) at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, at the 92nd Street Y, in a virtual concert also streamed by the Schubert Club and Lied Center for Performing Arts in Nebraska, and at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. She performed live with the Houston and Detroit Symphonies and in European engagements with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The OCM Symphony Orchestra in Spain, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra in Turkey and Orchestra del Teatro Massimo di Palermo in Italy.
She began her 2021-22 season with the Festival Strings Lucerne on July 1, performing the concert that had been scheduled for March 2020, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. This season, she has performances scheduled with orchestras in Atlanta, New Mexico, Phoenix, Austin, Kansas City and Palm Beach, a U.S. recital tour and tours throughout Europe and Asia. She will perform the World Premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in November and will also perform the piece with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg the following month.
Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve concert, where the foundation was laid for her following career. Midori is the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.