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Leonidas Kavakos has established himself as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known on the highest levels for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing. International recognition came when Kavakos was still in his teens. He won the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and the Paganini competition in 1988, and, following these successes, he was invited by orchestras across Europe, North America and the Far East, his reputation soaring.
Kavakos now appears in concert throughout the world with the great orchestras and conductors, and regularly visits major international festivals with visiting orchestras in chamber music and in recital.
This season, Kavakos is appearing with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He will work with such conductors as Andrei Boreiko, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Iván Fischer, Hans Graf, Alan Gilbert, Valery Gergiev, David Robertson and Osmo Vänskä.
In October 2007, Kavakos took up the position of Artistic Director of the Camerata Salzburg, succeeding Sir Roger Norrington. He conducts twice each season in the Camerata’s Abonnement series at the Mozarteum, Salzburg, as well as appearing at the Salzburg Festival, the Mozartwoche and in their own festival, the Begegnung, both in Salzburg and Vienna. He has previously taken the orchestra on tour to Italy, Germany, Spain and Greece, and in February 2006 he presented the Camerata Salzburg in his own festival at the Megaron, Athens. This was a series of three Mozart programmes in which he played the five concerti and conducted three late symphonies. The concerts were recorded and have been released by Sony to wide acclaim. The Sunday Times wrote that this "…grand account of the great E flat major symphony suggests he will be as formidable a director of this superb chamber orchestra as he is a soloist."
Kavakos is an established chamber musician and collaborates with many distinguished partners – Heinrich Schiff, Natalia Gutman, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt and Elisabeth Leonskaya. He regularly plays at the major European halls, and last season gave a series of chamber music recitals at the Verbier and Salzburg Festivals. He was also resident at the Concertgebouw in a dedicated weekend of recital and chamber music, as well as in concert with the Camerata Salzburg.
In addition to his most recent disc of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Camerata Salzburg and Mendelssohn Piano Trios with cellist Patrick Demenga and pianist Enrico Pace, Kavakos has a distinguished catalogue of recordings. In 1991, he won the Gramophone Award for the first recording ever of the original version of Sibelius’ violin concerto (1903-04) on BIS. Further recordings include the Violin Concerto by Hindemith with the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos), solo sonatas by Ysaye (BIS), works by Debussy, Kreisler, Paganini et al (Delos) as well as Sibelius’ Humoresques (Finlandia). 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 which received the following accolade: "… the exquisite tenderness of the playing gives the music a sense of timeless, poignant beauty … the performance here is exceptional for its unruffled poise and delicious details. Not to be missed." (Gramophone. May, 2005).
Leonidas Kavakos plays the "Falmouth" Stradivarius of 1692 and a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini of 1782 (Turin).