Leonidas Kavakos is recognised as one of the world’s greatest violinists, and was voted Gramophone Artist of the Year 2014. Born and raised in a musical family in Athens, he studied at the Hellenic Conservatory with Stelios Kafantaris, one of the three important mentors in his life, together with Josef Gingold and Ferenc Rados.
By the age of 21 Leonidas Kavakos had already won three major competitions: the Sibelius Competition (1985), and the Paganini and Naumburg competitions (1988). This led to his making the first recording in history of the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903/4) – winning Gramophone Concerto of the Year Award in 1991 – and being accorded the honour of performing on the famous ‘Il Cannone’ Guarneri del Gesù, which belonged to Paganini.
Kavakos works with the world’s major orchestras and conductors – the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Chailly, Eschenbach), Berliner Philharmoniker (Rattle), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Jansons, Gatti), London Symphony Orchestra (Gergiev, Rattle) and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Chailly). He also works closely with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre de Paris, among many others. He has recently established a strong profile as a conductor, working with orchestras that include the London and Boston Symphony orchestras, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Leonidas is an exclusive Decca Classics artist. His recordings for the label include Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Enrico Pace (leading to the 2013 ECHO Klassik ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ Award), Brahms Violin Concerto, and Brahms Violin Sonatas with Yuja Wang. He has also recorded for BIS, ECM, and Sony Classical. Kavakos has always retained strong links with his native Greece. For 15 years he curated a chamber music cycle at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron). For the past two years he has curated an annual violin and chamber-music masterclass in Athens.
Leonidas Kavakos plays the ‘Abergavenny’ Stradivarius violin of 1724 and owns modern violins by F. Leonhard, S.P. Greiner, E. Haahti, C.Reuning, and D. Bague, and bows by F.X. Tourte, D. Peccatte, and J.P.M. Persois.
Leonidas Kavakos appears courtesy of Decca Classics.