Decca Classics Signs Exclusive Solo Recording Contract With Leonidas Kavakos

Photo: Decca/© Daniel Regan

Photo: © Tim Woodall

(London, 23 April 2012) Decca announced today that they have signed an exclusive contract with one of the world’s finest violinists, Leonidas Kavakos. Firmly established as an artist of quite exceptional quality, Kavakos is known at the highest level for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing.

The first Decca release with Leonidas Kavakos will be a complete set of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas performed with Enrico Pace to be launched in time for his complete cycle at this summer’s Salzburg Festival. Kavakos will also play complete Beethoven cycles at the Vienna Musikverein as well as in Athens, Milan, Amsterdam and Florence.

Managing Director of Decca Classics, Paul Moseley, said:
“Since his pioneering recording of the original Sibelius concerto 20 years ago, Leonidas Kavakos has slowly and surely risen to the top of the violinists’ tree. He is now the first choice of great conductors and orchestras around the world. With Leonidas possibilities begin where most other violinists run out of options. So the time is right for Decca to team up with him to record major keystones of the repertoire, including his first recordings of the Beethoven Sonatas, Brahms Violin Concerto (conducted by Riccardo Chailly) and complete solo Bach.”

Leonidas Kavakos commented:
“Decca, with its many historical recordings, great sound and legendary roster of artists, was always a significant influence in my youth. Now with this exciting collaboration, I very much look forward to recording repertoire that has been a cornerstone of my existence and development over many years. I am very excited to be joining the wonderful Decca team and to be serving the music in our future together.”

Press Quotes

“The Greek violin miracle…commands perhaps the most beautiful sound that can be produced on the instrument. Especially in soft passages it shines like bright gold.”

Tagesspiegel, December 2009

“…the Greek violinist has risen to the top of his profession in tandem with artistic evolution that few artists experience over a lifetime, much less a dozen years.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2011

“Kavakos’ performance led to a rapid and spontaneous standing ovation, with the LSO’s leader shaking his head in admiring disbelief.”

Shostakovich Violin Concerto 1, Hilary Finch, The Times, March 2011

Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos has established himself as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known at the highest level for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing. International recognition first came while Kavakos was still in his teens, winning the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and, three years later, the Paganini Competition.  

He now works with the world’s major orchestras and conductors – Vienna Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Budapest Festival, La Scala Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been invited as tour soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus/Chailly, Vienna Philharmonic/Chailly and Royal Concertgebouw/Jansons, and in the 2012/13 season he is the focus of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Artist Portrait and also the Berlin Philharmoniker’s Artist in Residence.

Kavakos’s repertoire is broad, and – in addition to the great 19th- and 20th-century concerti which are his mainstay – Kavakos is known for his interpretations of Bach and Mozart, as well as modern works such as Dutilleux L’arbre des songes and Hartmann Concerto funèbre.  

He is a committed chamber musician and recitalist and is a favoured artist at the Verbier, Montreux, Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals. He plays a Beethoven sonata cycle this season at the Wigmore Hall with pianist Emmanuel Ax, and together they will take this cycle to the Vienna Musikverein in the 2012/13 season. Kavakos will also perform the cycle in Carnegie Hall, Salzburg Festival, Hong Kong Festival, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Milan, Florence and Athens with Enrico Pace. Kavakos’s many distinguished chamber music partners also include Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Antoine Tamestit, Natalia Gutman, Nicholas Angelich, Nikolai Lugansky, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Yuja Wang.

Leonidas Kavakos is increasingly recognised as a conductor of considerable gift and musicianship. His most recent conducting engagements were with the Boston Symphony and Atlanta Symphony.

“…Kavakos led Beethoven’s Symphony #4 in B-flat, op. 60, without score or baton. […] Kavakos used his entire body to shape lines with sinuous flexibility, and the orchestra responded with a terrific performance.” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer, March 2012)

He has also appeared as conductor with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, La Scala Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Houston Symphony Orchestra. In the current season, he has conducted the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and RAI National Symphony Orchestra.

Kavakos is an exclusive Decca recording artist and for his first release will record the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin with pianist Enrico Pace. Kavakos already has a distinguished discography with a number of award-winning recordings – his Mendelssohn Violin Concerto disc receiving an ECHO Klassik award for Best Concerto Recording 2009. He has also recorded, live, Mozart’s five violin concerti and Symphony No.39 together with the Camerata Salzburg, which featured in Der Spiegel’s selection of the 30 best classical recordings ever. In 1991, shortly after winning the Sibelius Competition, Kavakos won a Gramophone Award for the first ever recording of the original version of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto (1903/04). In addition, he has released recordings of sonatas by Enescu and Ravel together with pianist Péter Nagy, and a recording of works by Bach and Stravinsky.

Leonidas Kavakos plays the ‘Abergavenny’ Stradivarius of 1724.