Yuja Wang | Leonidas Kavakos © Ben Ealovega/Decca
Do you not yet have a customer account? Please register here.
Yuja Wang | Leonidas Kavakos © Ben Ealovega/Decca
Recital 1 − Violin
Leonidas Kavakos | Yuja Wang
The Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos is an exceptional artist. He masters the most difficult passages on his instrument effortlessly and can elicit enchanting sounds from its four strings. But even more, Kavakos is special because he subverts expectations. He has patiently taken his time developing his career and, having now reached his early 50s, is able all the more to enjoy reaching the zenith. With no use for the vapid surface appeal of showoff violinists, he has his own definition of virtuosity: “The word comes from ‘virtus’ and means virtue. Virtuosity has nothing to do with very fast playing. It means presenting the music in such a way that the audience forgets time and space.” It is therefore fitting that Kavakos will start his Lucerne residency as “artiste étoile” not with a grand orchestra and one of the great warhorses of the repertoire but with a chamber concert. His piano partner is the flamboyantly extroverted pianist Yuja Wang – fire and water, you might think. But Kavakos plays down such contrasts. Everything turns out to be a matter of chemistry: “It is a real pleasure to make music with her.”
Leonidas Kavakos © Marco Borggreve
Leonidas Kavakos, who was born in 1967 in Athens, began playing violin at the age of five. He completed his studies with Stelios Kafantaris at the conservatory of his native city and with Josef Gingold at the University of Indiana. In 1985 Kavakos triumphed at the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki, and in 1988 he won the Naumburg Violin Competition in New York and the Premio Paganini in Genoa. Since then he has performed as a soloist with many renowned orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Chicago Symphony, and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics. Partners on the podium have included such conductors as Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, and Sir Simon Rattle. Kavakos himself has increasingly taken up conducting and has led the London, Boston, and Houston Symphony Orchestras; the Budapest Festival Orchestra; the Rotterdam Philharmonic; the Vienna Symphony; and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In the 2017-18 season he was as artist-in-residence at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Vienna Musikverein; he will serve in this capacity with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 2018-19 season. In the realm of chamber music, Kavakos plays as part of a trio with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma; other musical partners include Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Hélène Grimaud, and Yuja Wang. His cycle of the complete Beethoven sonatas with Enrico Pace won the Echo Klassik Award in 2013, and in 2014 he received Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award. His most recent release, in the fall of 2017, is of the complete Brahms piano trios with Ax and Ma. Leonidas Kavakos, who received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2017, plays the “Willemotte” Stradivari from 1734.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 29 August 1999, with Kim Kashkashian and Natalia Gutman, in a concert of works by Beethoven and Schnittke.
July 2018Other dates
Yuja Wang © Kirk Edwards
Born in Beijing in 1987, the Chinese pianist Yuja Wang had her first piano lessons at the age of six. She initially studied at the Central Music Conservatory of her native city and went on to attend Canada’s Mount Royal College in Calgary at 14 and, one year later, became a student of Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she graduated in 2008. In 2003 Yuja Wang made her debut playing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. Performances with the leading American ensembles followed, including the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies; the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the summer of 2009, at LUCERNE FESTIVAL’s opening concert, Yuja Wang played Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto under Claudio Abbado; this collaboration continued with a recording of works by Rachmaninoff which was released in 2011. Yuja Wang has meanwhile also collaborated in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Orchestre de Paris, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Staatskapelle; in May 2015 came her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. She has played under such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Antonio Pappano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. In the 2015-16 season she will undertake an Asian tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and a European tour with the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana under Gustavo Dudamel; she will also concertize with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Russian National Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, during the past season she performed with the violinist Leonidas Kavakos, with whom she also has recorded the Brahms sonatas. Yuja Wang won the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2010 and an ECHO Klassik Award in 2011.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut in August 2009 performing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA under Claudio Abbado.