Midori Samson is an educator, advocate for the arts, and the newly appointed 2nd bassoonist of the Arkansas Symphony. She recently relocated to Austin, Texas from New York City, where she performed as principal bassoonist with several orchestras including the Juilliard Orchestra, New York String Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony, and Ensemble 212. She has also performed with the Austin, Charleston, and New World symphonies, National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, and toured with the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. This winter she is looking forward to performing with the Mid Texas and Lubbock symphonies. As a chamber musician, her appearances include Juilliard’s ChamberFest, Banff Centre in Canada, Norfolk and Bowdoin International music festivals, and Elliott Carter's 102nd birthday party. As a soloist, she has performed with the Nairobi Orchestra, Oregon's Metropolitan Youth Symphony, and in guest recitals at the University of Kansas and New York's Philippine Consulate. Most recently, she was the Texas young artist winner of the Music Teachers National Association solo competition.
Other than performing, Midori is deeply passionate about outreach and teaching. She was a Gluck Community Service Fellow, giving regular interactive performances at healthcare facilities throughout New York City, and did similar work as a member of Rayos de Cancion in Guatemala. As a Morse Teaching Artist at Juilliard, she taught 2nd grade music in partnership with the New York Department of Education. She continues to volunteer with children across the world through organizations including Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), the Juilliard New Orleans Service Project, Project Philippines, and the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project, and her work with these groups inspired her to co-found Trade Winds, a woodwind quintet whose mission is to create sustainable music education programs in the artistically underserved areas of Kenya and Tanzania. Also through these projects, she has presented masterclasses at Wright State University, Kenya National Youth Orchestra, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Philippine High School for the Arts, and the University of Santo Tomas. Most recently, Midori began the Austin Chapter of ASTEP at the University of Texas, and hosted a free arts camp with a local youth shelter. As a result of her equal love for music and arts advocacy, Midori was the 2014 recipient of the Joseph W. Polisi Prize for exemplifying the values of the “Artist as Citizen”, and was also awarded the $10,000 Robert Sherman McGraw-Hill Prize for Music Education and Community Outreach. For her work in Austin, she received the honor of a Great Blue Heron feather from the Indigenous Women's Network, which she considers her greatest achievement so far.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Midori received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School as a student of Frank Morelli. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at The University of Texas at Austin as a student of Kristin Wolfe Jensen. She spends her free time running her private bassoon studio, caring for her rabbit, Fang, and cooking a meal from every country week-by-week.