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Leonidas Kavakos

Violin, Conductor
Artiste étoile, Lucerne Festival 2019

  • Leonidas Kavakos is recognised across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, acclaimed for his matchless technique, his captivating artistry and his superb musicianship as well as for the integrity of his playing. He works with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and plays as recitalist in the world’s premier recital halls and festivals. He is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classical.

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  • The three important mentors in his life have been Stelios Kafantaris, Josef Gingold, and Ferenc Rados, with whom he still works. By the age of 21, Leonidas Kavakos had already won three major competitions: the Sibelius Competition in 1985, and the Paganini and Naumburg competitions in 1988. This success led to him recording the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903/4), the first recording of this work in history, and which won Gramophone Concerto of the Year Award in 1991.


    Kavakos is now an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classics. His latest recording, to be released worldwide in October 2019 in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020, is the Beethoven Concerto which he conducted and played with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, coupled with the Beethoven Septet played with members of the orchestra. In the anniversary year, Kavakos will both play and play/conduct the Beethoven concerto with orchestras across Europe and the USA. He will also play the complete Beethoven Sonata cycle in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Milan and Rome, and a number of single Beethoven recitals in various cities including London’s Wigmore Hall, Barcelona, Parma and Copenhagen.


    In 2007, for his recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas with Enrico Pace, Kavakos was named Echo Klassik Instrumentalist of the year. In 2014, Kavakos was awarded Gramophone Artist of the Year.


    Further accolades came in 2017 when Kavakos was awarded the prestigious Leonie Sonning Prize – Denmark’s highest musical honour, given annually to an internationally recognised composer, condcutor, instrumentalist or singer. Previous winners include Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Alfred Brendel, Benjamin Britten, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Simon Rattle, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arthur Rubenstein and Dmitri Shostakovich.


    August 2019 was a full and rewarding month: after the Verbier Festival where he appeared in recital with Evgent Kissin and conducted the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in a programme in which he played Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Antoine Tamestit, he joined YoYo Ma and Emanuel Ax at the Tanglewood Music Festival for a programme of Beethoven Piano trios, in a duo recital with Ax of Beethoven Sonatas, and in an orchestral concert with the Boston Symphony in which he played and conducted Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Dvorak Symphony No. 7.


    Kavakos was also invited as "Artiste Etoile" at the Lucerne Festival where he appeared with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic with Andes Orozco Estrada, and in recital with Yuja Wang.


    In the 2019/20 season, in addition to concerts with major orchestras in Europe and the United States, Leonidas Kavakos will one again join YoYo Ma and Emanuel Ax for three programmes in Carngie Hall comprising Beethoven trios and sonatas. He will undertake two Asian tours, first as soloist with the Singapore Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic and in recital in the NCPA Beijing, and then in the spring he performs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, prior to playing Beethoven Sonata Cycles in Shanghai and Guangzhou with Enrico Pace.


    In recent year, Leonidas Kavakos has succeeded in building a strong profile as a conductor and has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Gürzenich Orchester, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Filarmonica Teatro La Fenice, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. In the forthcoming season he will return to two orchestra where he has developed close ties as both violinist and condcutor: L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. This season he also play/conducts theCzech Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI.


    Born and brought up in a musical family in Athens, Kavakos curates an annual violin and chamber-music masterclass in Athens, which attracts violinists and ensembles from all over the world and reflects his deep commitment to the handing on of musical knowledge and traditions. Part of this tradition is the art of violin and bow-making, which Kavakos regards as a great mystery and to this day, an undisclosed secret. He plays the 'Willemotte' Stradivarius violin of 1734 and owns modern violins made by F. Leonhard, S.P. Greiner, E. Haahti and D. Bagué.

    2019-2020 season / 765 words. Not to be altered without permission.
    Please include links to www.leonidaskavakos.com and www.facebook.com/leonidas.kavakos.violin in all printed and digital use of biography.

Performances

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Orchestral highlights

Vienna Philharmonic / Chailly, Eschenbach


Vienna Symphony / Afkham, Jurowski


Bayerische Rundfunk / Jansons


Berliner Philharmoniker / Rattle, Mehta


Gewandhausorchester Leipzig / Bringuier, Chailly, Blomstedt


Munich Philharmonic / Denève, Gergiev


WDR Symphony Orchestra / Saraste


Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Gatti, Gergiev, Jansons


London Symphony Orchestra / Rattle, Harding


London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jurowski


Orchestre de Paris / Temirkanov, Järvi


Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Stenz


Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Gergiev


Filarmonica della Scala / Chailly, Harding


Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra / Gergiev


Boston Symphony Orchestra / Nelsons, Denève


The Cleveland Orchestra / Noseda


New York Philharmonic / Gilbert, Haitink


Philadelphia Orchestra / Nézet-Séguin


San Francisco Symphony / Tilson-Thomas

Conducting highlights

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Bamberg Symphony
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Gürzenich Orchestra
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
New York Philharmonic
Boston Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra
Houston Symphony

...the compassion he infused into the score, his repartee with the players, and his unabated energy showed him an étoile of the first order.

Bachtrack, September 2019

Technically, he was faultless, as one might expect, but what was really so remarkable about his playing here was the way he made the music breathe and sing in lyrical, expansive paragraphs while remaining continuously alert both to subtleties of meaning and absolute directness of expression

Guardian, August, 2017

This is playing that sorts out the men from the boys. I doubt if there is more than a handful of violinists alive who can match Kavakos in the tonal variety, accuracy and speed of his harmonics, or in the deft alternation of bowing and left-hand pizzicato. In fact, I wonder if Paganini would have equalled him.

Gramophone, May 2016

Intermusica represents Leonidas Kavakos worldwide

Stephen Lumsden
Chief Executive
+44 20 7608 9911

Jessica Ford
Director, Artist Management
+44 20 7608 9925
jford@intermusica.co.uk

Victoria Ford
Associate Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9926
victoriaford@intermusica.co.uk

Hattie Rayfield 
Assistant Artist Manager
+44 20 3929 9663
hrayfield@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Clarinet

Mark Simpson

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles