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, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich Philharmonic and Budapest Festival orchestras, Orchestre de Paris, Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala.
In recent years, Kavakos has succeeded in building a strong profile as a conductor and has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Gürzenich Orchester, Vienna Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Filarmonica Teatro La Fenice, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Most recently he had a great success conducting the Israel Philharmonic.
In the 22/23 season, Kavakos is honoured as Artist in Residence at Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, where he will appear as both violinist and conductor across the season. He will tour Europe with Yuja Wang, as well as return to the US with regular recital partners Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. Kavakos will perform a number of concerts throughout Europe and the Middle East with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Daniel Harding, as well as return to the Vienna Philharmonic, Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NDR Hamburg, the New York Philharmonic and the Czech Philharmonic. He will also conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, RAI Torino and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has two extensive visits to Asia, including a residency at Tongyeong International Music Festival, in addition to a series of recitals in Japan and South Korea where he will perform Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas, following the release of his critically acclaimed album ‘Bach: Sei Solo’ in 2022.
Kavakos is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classics. Further recent releases from the Beethoven 250th Anniversary year include the Beethoven Violin Concerto which he conducted and played with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, 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: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5’ arranged for trio, with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. The second album from this series containing further arrangements of Beethoven Symphonies will be released in Autumn 2022.
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.