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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 came whilst Kavakos was still in his teens. He won the Sibelius competition in 1985 and then the Paganini competition in 1988 and, following these successes, he was invited by orchestras across Europe, North America and the Far East and his reputation soared. Kavakos is now one of the world’s most highly regarded and sought after violinists and has established close relationships with many of the greatest orchestras and conductors. He also regularly visits the major international festivals with orchestras, in chamber music and in recital.
In the current seasons, Kavakos appears as soloist with the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Tonhalle Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He works with such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Iván Fischer, Alan Gilbert, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano, Christian Thielemann and Osmo Vänskä.
Leonidas Kavakos is also increasingly recognised as a conductor of considerable gift and musicianship. From October 2007 until September 2009, Kavakos was Artistic Director of the Camerata Salzburg, having been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Artist from 2002. He has also conducted the Filarmonica della Scala and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and will be appearing as conductor or conductor/violinist with the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Budapest FO, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Maggio Musicale.
Kavakos’ many distinguished chamber music partners include Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Natalia Gutman, Emanuel Ax, Helène Grimaud, Nicholas Angelich, Nickolai Luganzki, Elisabeth Leonskaya and Enrico Pace. He is invited widely as an artist in residence and will have a wide exposure as such in the next seasons, in November 2009 as Artist in Focus at London’s Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Tonhalle Zurich. He is a regular and favoured artist at the Verbier Festival.
Kavakos has a distinguished catalogue of recordings. Together with the Camerata Salzburg he has recorded live on Sony Mozart’s five Violin Concerti and the E flat major Symphony and, more recently, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto coupled with the Mendelssohn Piano Trios with Enrico Pace and Patrick Demenga. This recording was recently named Echo Klassik Best Concerto Recording of 19th Century Work.
In 1991, he won the Gramophone Award for the first recording ever of the original version of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto (1903/04) on Bis. On Ecm, he has released a recording of sonatas by Enescu and Ravel together with pianist Péter Nagy and a recording of works by Bach and Stravinsky.
Leonidas Kavakos plays the “Falmouth” Stradivari of 1692 and a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini of 1782 (Torino).
He performed at Stresa Festival in 2005 and 2007.