Violin Leonidas Kavakos


“…the Greek violinist has risen to the top of his profession in tandem with artistic evolution that few artists experience over a lifetime, much less a dozen years.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2011
Leonidas Kavakos has established himself as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known at the highest level for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing. International recognition first came while Kavakos was still in his teens, winning the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and, three years later, the Paganini Competition.
He now works with the world’s major orchestras and conductors – Vienna Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Budapest Festival, La Scala Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been invited as tour soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus/Chailly, Vienna Philharmonic/Chailly and Royal Concertgebouw/Jansons, and in the 2012/13 season he is the focus of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Artist Portrait and also the Berlin Philharmoniker’s Artist in Residence.
Kavakos’s repertoire is broad and, in addition to the great 19th- and 20th-century concerti, which are his mainstay, Kavakos is known for his interpretations of Bach and Mozart as well as modern works such as Dutilleux L’arbre des songes and Hartmann Concerto funèbre.
He is a committed chamber musician and recitalist and is a favoured artist at the Verbier, Montreux, Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals. He plays a Beethoven sonata cycle this season at the Wigmore Hall with pianist Emmanuel Ax, and together they will take this cycle to the Vienna Musikverein in the 2012/13 season. Kavakos will also perform the cycle in Carnegie Hall, Salzburg Festival, Hong Kong Festival, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Milan, Florence and Athens with Enrico Pace. Kavakos’s many distinguished chamber music partners also include Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Antoine Tamestit, Natalia Gutman, Nicholas Angelich, Nikolai Lugansky, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Yuja Wang.
Leonidas Kavakos is increasingly recognised as a conductor of considerable gift and musicianship. His most recent conducting engagements were with the Boston Symphony and Atlanta Symphony: “…Kavakos led Beethoven’s Symphony No.4 in B-flat, op. 60, without score or baton. … Kavakos used his entire body to shape lines with sinuous flexibility, and the orchestra responded with a terrific performance” (Boston Musical Intelligencer, March 2012).
He has also appeared as conductor with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, La Scala Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. In the current season, he has conducted the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Kavakos is an exclusive Decca recording artist and for his first release he will record the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin with pianist Enrico Pace. Kavakos already has a distinguished discography with a number of award-winning recordings – his Mendelssohn Violin Concerto disc on Sony Classical receiving an ECHO Klassik award for Best Concerto Recording 2009. Also on Sony, he recorded live Mozart’s five violin concerti and Symphony No.39 together with the Camerata Salzburg, which featured in Der Spiegel’s selection of the 30 best classical recordings ever. In 1991, shortly after winning the Sibelius Competition, Kavakos won a Gramophone Award for the first ever recording of the original version of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto (1903/4), recorded on BIS. In addition, for ECM, he has released recordings of sonatas by Enescu and Ravel together with pianist Péter Nagy, and a recording of works by Bach and Stravinsky.
Leonidas Kavakos plays the ‘Abergavenny’ Stradivarius of 1724.