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Noble, charming, sober, modest. Such qualities may play a major
role in human coexistence and are certainly appreciated. However,
they are rather untypical for extraordinary personalities such as
conductors. Whatever the general public's notion of a conductor may
be, Herbert Blomstedt is an exception, precisely because he
possesses those very qualities which seemingly have so little to do
with a conductor's claim to power. The fact that he disproves the
usual clichés in many respects should certainly not lead to the
assumption that this artist does not have the power to assert his
clearly defined musical goals. Anyone who has once attended Herbert
Blomstedt's rehearsals and experienced the concentration on the
essence of the music, the precision in the phrasing of musical
facts and circumstances as they appear from the score, the tenacity
regarding the implementation of an aesthetic view, will probably
have been amazed at how few despotic measures were required to this
end. Basically, Herbert Blomstedt has always represented that type
of artist whose professional competence and natural authority make
all external emphasis superfluous. His work as a conductor is
inseparably linked to his religious and human ethos, accordingly,
his interpretations combine great faithfulness to the score and
analytical precision with a soulfulness that awakens the music to
pulsating life. In the more than sixty years of his career, he has
acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world.
Over the years, many outstanding ensembles around the globe have
been able to secure the services of this highly respected Swedish
conductor, born in the USA and educated in Uppsala, New York,
Darmstadt and Basel. At the age of ninety, Herbert Blomstedt
continues to be at the helm of all leading international orchestras
with enormous mental and physical presence, verve and artistic
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor
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August 2019 was a full and rewarding month: after the Verbier Festival where he appeared in recital with Evgent Kissin and conducted the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in a program in which he played Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Antoine Tamestit, he joined YoYo Ma and Emanuel Ax at the Tanglewood Music Festival for a program of Beethoven Piano trios, in a duo recital with Ax of Beethoven Sonatas, and in an orchestral concert with the Boston Symphony in which he played and conducted Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Dvořák Symphony No. 7.
Kavakos was also invited as Artiste Etoile at the Lucerne Festival where he appeared with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic with Andes Orozco Estrada, and in recital with Yuja Wang.
In the 2019/20 season, in addition to concerts with major orchestras in Europe and the United States, Kavakos will once again join YoYo Ma and Emanuel Ax for three programs in Carnegie Hall comprising Beethoven trios and sonatas. He will undertake two Asian tours, first as soloist with the Singapore Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic and in recital in the NCPA Beijing, and then in the spring he performs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, prior to playing Beethoven Sonata Cycles in Shanghai and Guangzhou with Enrico Pace.
In recent years, Kavakos has succeeded in building a strong profile as a conductor and has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Gürzenich Orchester, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Filarmonica Teatro La Fenice, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. In the forthcoming season he will return to two orchestras where he has developed close ties as both violinist and conductor: L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. This season he also play/conducts the Czech Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI.
Born and brought up in a musical family in Athens, Kavakos curates an annual violin and chamber-music masterclass in Athens, which attracts violinists and ensembles from all over the world and reflects his deep commitment to the handing on of musical knowledge and traditions. Part of this tradition is the art of violin and bow-making, which Kavakos regards as a great mystery and to this day, an undisclosed secret. He plays the 'Willemotte' Stradivarius violin of 1734 and owns modern violins made by F. Leonhard, S.P. Greiner, E. Haahti and D. Bagué.
Leonidas Kavakos, violin