Leonidas Kavakos residency with London Symphony Orchestra
Published: 12 November 2012
Leonidas Kavakos is resident this season with the London Symphony Orchestra as the UBS Soundscapes LSO Artist Portrait. The first of his four concerts is on November 25, when Kavakos plays Berg’s Violin Concerto under Semyon Bychkov. Returning to London on November 30, Kavakos plays a recital with pianist Nikolai Lugansky at the Barbican in a programme of Janáček, Brahms, Stravinsky and Respighi. Kavakos and Lugansky also perform this programme on November 29 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Kavakos continues his LSO Artist Portrait in December, performing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with Osmo Vänskä on December 9. As part of the LSO’s Szymanowski series to mark the 75th anniversary of the composer’s death, Leonidas Kavakos joins the orchestra and Valery Gergiev for concerts in London (December 12 and 19), Luxembourg (December 13) and Paris (December 16), playing Szymanowski’s Second Violin Concerto.
Speaking of the UBS Soundscapes LSO Artist Portrait in an interview with Ivan Hewett, Kavakos said: “What I love about this residency is the chance it gives to say in one place and focus on music I love with musicians I admire... I always enjoy playing in London because the audience here is so unpretentious in the way they listen... They really do love the music, and this is a spirit we have to foster in these difficult times.”
As part of this residency, Kavakos also gives a masterclass on December 11 to students at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. On December 8, there is an opportunity to hear Leonidas Kavakos in conversation with a member of the LSO in the orchestra’s 'Artist Conversation'series.
Also Artist in Residence this season with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Leonidas Kavakos plays his second concert of chamber music with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker on December 3. His programme opens with the Trio Sonata from Bach’s Das Musikalische Opfer, followed by Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on a Bach Chorale, and finishes with Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
In an interview for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s magazine 128, Kavakos speaks of his love of Berlin and his close relationship with the orchestra:“Berlin has a special atmosphere. There is something in the air – one breathes in a higher sense. I don’t know what it is, but I feel that each time I arrive.”
Leonidas Kavakos receives fantastic reviews for his performance of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto on Sunday 9 November at the Barbican with the LSO and conductor Osmo Vänskä:
‘I can’t remember when I last heard such a soaring roar of applause in the Barbican Hall. And then slowly, one by one, the audience rose to its feet. This was no diva: this was Leonidas Kavakos at the end of his performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto … And this was one of the greats in the performing history of the work itself.’
Hilary Finch, The Times, five stars, December 2012
‘The final Allegro saw orchestra and soloist achieving an ideal synergy, with Kavakos’s sound shining brightly against the bass-heavy backdrop; one could not have wished for a clearer demonstration that this work stands in the grand tradition of Brahms and Tchaikovsky.’
Michael Church, The Independent, five stars, December 2012
‘ … while the support [Vanska] and the LSO provided to Kavakos’s wonderfully secure playing in the concerto was faultless. For all his technical brilliance, Kavakos is a self-effacing player; he never put a food wrong here, and made his points with a minimum of fuss.’
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, five stars, December 2012
‘After that sublime curtain-raiser, the Violin Concerto received one of those defining performances that summed up everything you could possibly want from this great work’
Classical Source, December 2012