Leonidas Kavakos is recognized across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, acclaimed for his matchless technique, his captivating artistry and his superb musicianship, and the integrity of his playing. He works regularly with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and plays as recitalist in the world’s premier recital halls and festivals.
Kavakos has developed close relationships with major orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Kavakos also works closely with the Dresden Staatskapelle, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, as well as the major US Orchestras.
In recent years, Kavakos has succeeded in building a strong profile as a conductor and has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Dallas Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Filarmonica della Scala, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Most recently he had a great success conducting the Israel Philharmonic, to which he will return.
In the 23/24 season, Kavakos performs at the opening gala of Carnegie Hall with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti. On the same visit to the US he will also perform with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen. Kavakos will perform a number of concerts throughout Europe with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, as well as return to Staatskapelle Berlin, NDR Hamburg, the Bergen Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, and the Boston Symphony. He also conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra in London for the first time, as well as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Kavakos will tour with regular recital partners Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma to concert halls across Europe and the US, and will return to China for a series of recitals and performances with the China Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony. He will also perform Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas across Europe and Asia, following the release of his critically acclaimed album ‘Bach: Sei Solo’ in 2022.
Kavakos is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classics. Releases have included the Beethoven Violin Concerto which he conducted and played with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and the re-release of his 2007 recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas with Enrico Pace, for which he was named Echo Klassik Instrumentalist of the year. In 2022 Kavakos released ‘Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” and Op.1, No. 3’ arranged for trio, with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. Further albums from this series containing arrangements of Beethoven Symphonies will be released in coming years. He has been Gramophone Magazine Artist of the Year.
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. He plays the ‘Willemotte’ Stradivarius violin of 1734.
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
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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
Bachtrack, September 2019
The compassion he infused into the score, his repartee with the players, and his unabated energy showed him an étoile of the first order.
Guardian, August, 2017
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
Gramophone, May 2016
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.