I call myself a bassoonist, educator, and activist, but it feels redundant to say I’m each of these things separately. Being in Trade Winds is the place I can work to be equally virtuosic in these three aspects of my musicianship at once, because my fellow members and our students inspire me to be the best bassoonist-educator-activist I can be.
— Midori Samson

Midori Samson

Judy and Scott McCue Bassoon Chair

Bassoonist, Co-Founder

Midori Samson is a bassoonist, educator, and activist. She currently holds the positions of Second Bassoon in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Principal Bassoon in the Beloit-Janesville Symphony. Previously, she was a Fellow in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and performed in several Chicago Symphony Orchestra family concerts in the roles of 2nd bassoon, “Hunter”, and “Ms. Dog”. In addition, she has performed in the Austin, Charleston, and New World symphonies, National Orchestral Institute, New York String Orchestra, and Pacific Music Festival. Her chamber music appearances include the Norfolk and Bowdoin International music festivals, Banff Centre, and Elliott Carter’s 102nd birthday party. As a soloist, she recently performed a recital of seven new solo works for bassoon, which she commissioned by composers from across Africa. She also was the winner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble’s inaugural Concerto Competition and will perform Concerto for Bassoon by Frigyes Hidas with the ensemble next year.

As a Fellow in the Civic Orchestra, Midori regularly helped curate community engagement projects across Chicago in partnership with retirement homes, correctional facilities, and community music programs. She has also presented masterclasses at the University of Santo Tomas, and the Philippine High School for the Arts. In addition to her work with Trade Winds, she has volunteered as a teaching artist in Austin, Guatemala, New Orleans, New York, and The Philippines, and continues to visit rural India annually to facilitate interdisciplinary arts workshops with Artists Striving to End Poverty. She was awarded the Joseph W. Polisi “Artist as Citizen” Prize, and the McGraw-Hill Foundation Award for Music Education and Community Outreach for this work. Most recently, she was invited by Yo-Yo Ma to join the faculty of the Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival, and will perform and teach alongside him this winter in Guangzhou, China.  

Midori holds degrees from The Juilliard School and The University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in bassoon at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, with secondary focus in social work. In her free time, she stays busy caring for her pet rabbit Fang, and cooking a meal from every country of the world, week-by-week (110 countries so far!)