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Leonidas Kavakos (b1967)

One of very few Greek classical string players of international standing, Leonidas Kavakos began the violin at five, progressing to studies with Stelios Kafantaris at the Hellenic Conservatory and later winning an Onassis Foundation scholarship that took him to the US to participate in Josef Gingold’s masterclasses at Indiana University. Having made his concert début in Athens, his success at several violin competitions in the 1980s helped Kavakos on his way to an international reputation. One of his earlier recordings—an interesting comparative reading of the Sibelius Violin Concerto in its original and final versions—won a 1991 Gramophone Award. Like many other string players, Kavakos is also known as a conductor. In this rôle he has worked with orchestras in Budapest, Houston and Rotterdam, as well as with the Camerata Salzburg with whom he made a successful recording of the Mendelssohn E minor Concerto as soloist-director. With this latter ensemble, Kavakos worked as principal guest artist under the direction of Roger Norrington, who developed ideas of historically-informed performance during his tenure.




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