Recital 1 − Violin

Leonidas Kavakos | Yuja Wang

Mozart | Prokofiev | Bartók | Strauss

Mon, 19.08.19.30No. 19307

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

16.08.-15.09. 2019

 

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    Yuja Wang  piano
    Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756–1791)
    Violin Sonata in B-flat major, K. 454
    Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)
    Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80
    Béla Bartók (1881–1945)
    Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Sz 86
    Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
    Violin Sonata in E-Flat major, Op. 18

    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.”

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    Leonidas Kavakos

    The Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos is “artiste étoile” at the 2019 Summer Festival in Lucerne. Born in 1967 in Athens, he 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. Kavakos triumphed at the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki in 1985, and in 1988 he won the Naumburg Violin Competition in New York and the Premio Paganini in Genoa. He made the first-ever recording of the Sibelius Concerto in the original version (long considered “unplayable”), which became a sensation and received Gramophone’s Concerto of the Year Award in 1991. Since then Kavakos has been appearing 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, Israel, and New York Philharmonics. Kavakos himself has increasingly taken up conducting and has led the London, Boston, and Houston Symphony Orchestras; the Budapest Festival Orchestra; the New York and Rotterdam Philharmonics; the Vienna Symphony; the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In the 2018-19 season, Kavakos was artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and made a recording with that ensemble of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, playing the double roles of soloist and conductor. 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 is of the Brahms piano trios with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo 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.

    August 2019

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    Yuja Wang

    Born in 1987 in Beijing, the Chinese pianist Yuja Wang began learning piano at the age of six. She initially studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in her native city, transferring when she was 14 to the Mount Royal College in Calgary, Canada, and, one year later, to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she became a student of Gary Graffman and graduated in 2008. Wang made her debut with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra in 2003, after which she appeared with major American ensembles, including the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies; the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In Europe, Yuja Wang collaborates with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Orchestre de Paris, the Filarmonica della Scala, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In the 2018-19 season, she was artist-in-residence at Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg. She traveled with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev to Asia and also toured Europe with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. In March 2019, Wang gave the world premiere of John Adams’s new Piano Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. She appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic in June 2019 at the storied Summer Night Concert at Schlosspark Schönbrunn. Wang has enjoyed a long-lasting partnership with the violinist Leonidas Kavakos, with whom she has recorded the complete Brahms sonatas. Her latest releases are The Berlin Recital, an album of works by composers including Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev; and a CD with the clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer. The magazine Musical America chose Yuja Wang as Artist of the Year in 2017.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut in August 2009 performing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA under Claudio Abbado.

    July 2019

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