click photo to enlarge Leonidas Kavakos violinist

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Leonidas Kavakos is one of today’s most sought after virtuoso violinists.
Born in Athens to a musical family with strong traditions in folk music, Kavakos began studying violin with his father, continuing his studies at the Greek Conservatory with Stelios Kafantaris. An Onassis Foundation scholarship enabled him to attend master classes with Joseph Gingold at Indiana University, and he made his concert debut at the Athens Festival in 1984.

Leyla Gunes Manager

Susannah York Skinner

Kavakos' European reputation spread rapidly following his winning of both the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and the Paganini competition in 1988. Major debuts at the London/BBC Proms and international festivals in Edinburgh, Salzburg, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Saratoga, and the Hollywood Bowl, were followed by invitations to play with most of the world’s leading orchestras. These have included the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Hamburg, NHK Symphony and in North America the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Montreal, and the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia.


Newsletter/Spring 2001:
Kavakos becomes Principal Guest Artist of Camerata Salzburg

Newsletter/Autumn 2000:
Kavakos creates a storm on both sides of the Atlantic

Newsletter/Autumn 2000:
Orchestral Touring Highlights

The Demon Violin Programmes at Wigmore Hall

Newsletter/Spring 2000:
Orchestral Touring Highlights

Newsletter/Spring 2000:
Record Shelf

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
Explosive Kavakos remains cool despite loose cannon

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
BBC Proms 1999

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
Orchestral Touring Highlights

Newsletter/Autumn 1998:
Kavakos gives first performance outside Finland of original Sibelius Concerto

As an orchestral soloist, Kavakos has worked with many celebrated conductors including, Conlon, Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Sir Andrew Davis, Metzmacher, Norrington, Oramo and Salonen as well as Slatkin, Vänskä, Vegh, Sawallisch and Welser-Möst.

Highlights of the 01-2 season included his debut performance as Principal Guest Artist of the Camerata Salzburg and subsequent performances elsewhere in Germany and Austria, tours to Germany with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and to Macau with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, return visits to London Symphony Orchestra, RAI Torino, Gothenburg Symphony, debuts with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and Maggio Musicale in Florence, and recitals in Paris, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
Kavakos’s 02-3 season includes debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and appearances at the Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals. He will also tour with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestras, perform at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Sawallisch and in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Masur. Other engagements include a return visit to NHK Symphony, a tour with Budapest Festival Orchestra and recitals in Paris, Dublin, Tokyo and across Italy.

An active chamber musician, Kavakos has been the Artistic Director of his own chamber music cycle in the Megaron, Athens since 1992. He regularly appears at some of the world's foremost chamber music festivals, collaborating with such distinguished partners as Davidovich, Gutman, Imai, Kashkashian, Rostropovich and Vogt.

Kavakos’ ability in diverse repertoire is reflected in the exciting projects in which he has been involved and the critical acclaim they have received. From winning the 1991 Gramophone Award for the world premiere recording of the original version of the Sibelius concerto (BIS), he has recently gone on to record the Hindemith concerto (Chandos), a CD of solo sonatas by Ysale (BIS), cited as the best recording of the works ever to be made, and a critically acclaimed recording of music by Kreisler (BIS), highlighted as Editor’s Choice in the April 2001 edition of Gramophone Magazine. As well as playing the Korngold concerto in a documentary and concert for ARTE TV, Kavakos was the only soloist in the recent 2nd series of BBC Television’s enormously successful Masterworks, playing the elegiac Berg concerto with the BBC SO with Sir Andrew Davis.

Recently appointed the first ever Principal Guest Artist of the Camerata Salzburg, this unique association offers Kavakos the opportunity to create programmes, conduct and play in the world’s most renowned venues with this celebrated ensemble. Kavakos plays the "Falmouth" Stradivarius of 1692.

February 2003

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concerto repertoire
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ANTONIOU, T. Cadenza for Leonidas
BACH, J.S. Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041
Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042
Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043
Concerto in D minor (originally for cembalo), BWV 1052
Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060
BARTOK Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, No. 1
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, No. 2
Portrait No. 1 (original first movement of the unpublished concerto for Violin and Orchestra)
BEETHOVEN Concerto in D major, Op. 61
Concerto in C major for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op.56
Romance in F major, Op. 30
Romance in G major, Op. 40
BERG Concerto dedicated "To the Memory of an Angel"
BRAHMS Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Concerto in A minor for Violin and Cello, Op. 102
BRUCH Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44
Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 46
CHAUSSON Poème (1896)
DUTILLEUX L'arbre de songes, for Violin and Orchestra (1985)
DVORAK Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
GLASUNOV Concerto in A minor, Op. 82
HINDEMITH Concerto for Violin (1939)
KORNGOLD Concerto for Violin in D major, Op.35 (1945)
LADERMAN Concerto for Violin and Cello
LALO Symphonie Espagnole
MANSOURIAN Concerto for Violin
MENDELSSOHN Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Concerto for Piano and Violin
MOZART Adagio in E major, K. 261
Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207
Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211
Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218
Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219
Rondo Concertante in B flat major, K. 269
Rondo in C major, K. 373
Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major for Violin and Viola. K.364
NIELSEN Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 33
PAGANINI Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op.6
Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op.7
Le Streghe
PROKOFIEV Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op.19
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op.63
RAVEL Tzigane (1924)
SAINT-SAENS Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28
Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op.61
SARASATE Carmen Fantasy, Op.25
SCHUBERT Rondo in A major
SCHUMANN Concerto in D minor (1853)
Fantasia, Op.131
SIBELIUS Concerto in D minor, Op.47
Concerto in D minor, Op.47 (original version)
2 Humoresques (Nos 1 & 2)
4 Humoresques (Nos. 3 – 6)
SINDING Suite in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 10
STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto (1931)
SZYMANOWSKI Concerto for Violin no. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY Concerto in D major, Op.35
Sérénade Mélancolique, Op.26
Valse Scherzo
VIVALDI The Four Seasons
WEILL Concerto for Violin, Op.12
WIENIAWSKI Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op.14
Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op.22

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Kavakos' latest release on the CHANDOS label:

HINDEMITH Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
BBC Philharmonic / Tortelier
FAURE Berceuse KOCH 7009
HINDEMITH Violin Concerto CHANDOS 9903
(Pianist: Péter Nagy)
Viennese Rhapsody – Music for violin & piano by Fritz Kreisler BIS 1196
PAGANINI 24 Caprices Dynamic 66
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto; published and original versions
(Lahti Symphony/Osmo Vanska)
BIS 500
SIBELIUS Humoresques 1-6
(City of Espoo Chamber Orchestra/Lamminmaki)
Finlandia 381
(Pianist: Anne Epperson)
Sonata No.6
BAZZINI La Ronde Des Lutins Delos 3116

(Pianist: Peter Nagy)
La fille aux cheveux de lin
Fantasy & Variations on a Theme from Rossini's Otello
Caprice Viennois
Tambourin Chinois
Banjo & Fiddle
Le Streghe
Polonaise Brilliante
YSAYE 6 Sonatas for Solo Violin Op 27 BIS 1046

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Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra/Sawallisch/Mendelssohn:
In a return engagement Thursday with the Philadelphia Orchestra after a successful 1999 summer concert, Kavakos played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with restraint, grace and thoughtfulness. His lack of interpretive aggression and sense of power in reserve created a musical charisma that had my ear glued to him. Kavakos' characteristically discreet use of vibrato and sense of classical poise made the solo part of the Mendelssohn seem more like an exalted obbligato than something competing with the orchestra for attention. The purity of line alone was gratifying, but there was more: In the first movement's more introspective turns, the volume drew down to a confiding whisper that made you feel you were hearing something personal and spontaneous. Interpretive points were beautifully integrated into the whole, even the cadenza.
Architectural turning points carried unusual emotional weight. The longing Kavakos gave to the second movement's cunning transition into a new, more effusive theme group made it a moment to remember. Even better was the slow introduction to the finale, a passage usually treated as a setup for the witty, quasicomic opera that follows. But in Kavakos' hands, it was a movement unto itself, equal in significance to the other three. How can you not love this playing?"
Philadelphia INQUIRER, September 2000

Wigmore Hall / Demon Violin series:
"It takes charisma for a single string player to command the undivided attention of a whole concert hall, but he kept his audience spellbound, not least by the introduction of subtle embellishments to Bach's line on the repeats; we never knew quite what was coming."
Daily Telegraph

Frankfurt RSO / Saraste - Sibelius Violin Concerto:
"His performance was something special right from the first bar: I have rarely heard the solo part above the tender blanket of strings played with such tranquillity and melodiousness, so controlled and with such a beautifully flawless tone…This work which is a virtuoso’s dream…was clearly child’s play for Kavakos, both technically and musically."
Frankfurt Allgemeiner Zeitung

Indianapolis Symphony / Skrowaczewski - Bruch 2nd Violin Concerto:
"The range of his tonal effects and colours is as astonishing as his technique and the intensity of his sound".
Indianapolis Star

BBC Scottish Symphony / Maksymiuk - Stravinsky Violin Concerto:
"The soloist here was the outstanding Leonidas Kavakos, and he brought to Stravinsky’s continuously active, asymmetric rhythms a sense of line and a stinging articulation which were a joy to hear."
The Independent

National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Ivan Fischer - Dvorak Violin Concerto:
"Leonidas Kavakos brought lashings of lustrous tone to Dvorak’s lilting Violin Concerto"
The Independent

Indianapolis Symphony / Raymond Leppard - Lalo Violin Concerto:
"Lalo’s five-movement concerto, which lightens up considerably after the portentous first movement, is not the most obvious vehicle for displaying artistic depth and even a little bit of grit. But Kavakos did just that and made it work. He thundered and shuddered convincingly in the movement just mentioned. The smooth line and glittering trills long characteristic of his playing made the Scherzando movement dashing. […] The finale was a wealth of seemingly effortless articulation; plus a fitting air of nonchalance, the quality that one eminent commentator has said is what this music most requires."
Indianapolis Star

Philadelphia Orchestra / Charles Dutoit - Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto:
"Kavakos has a rare sensibility; delicately nuanced, precise, intense. The artist, from Athens, reminds of the late violinist Joseph Szigeti, whose upright stance and aesthetic integrity are legendary. Nothing for show, music for the music."
Philadelphia Enquirer

Norddeutsche RSO / Claus Peter Flor - Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto:
"…the soloist Leonidas Kavakos and the conductor Claus Peter Flor brought out the beauty of the melodic lines of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, avoiding any sickly sweetness. Kavakos played his Stradivarius forcefully, with a generous sound, concentrating on the shape of the phrases. The very smallest notes in the final Allegro vivace were spelled out clearly. In the encore, a sonata by Eugene Ysaye, there was a fascinating contrast between an almost inaudible but still wonderfully piano sound and a forceful forte…"
Hamburger Abendblatt

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