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Classical 101

Greek Violinist Leonidas Kavakos Plays Brahms Concerto

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Leonidas Kavakos, violinist and winner of the Leonie Sonning Music Prize 2017.

The outstanding Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who is deserving of wider name recognition, has a major award event to go in Copenhagen, Denmark this coming January.  He was announced as the winner of the Leonie Sonning Music Prize 2017.  

Since 1959, this prestigious award has gone to an internationally recognized composer, instrumentalist, conductor or singer.  Previous winners include Simon Rattle, John Eliot Gardiner, Pierre Boulez, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Miles Davis, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein.

Kavakos, who has been described as "one of the most expressive violinists you can hear today," is also a conductor who has served as artistic director of the Camerata Salzburg following Roger Norrington and guest conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  The 48 year old musician is a pretty busy guy, and this award may get his name in the spotlight a bit more.

One of the works he'll be performing in Copenhagen is the Violin Concerto in D by Johannes Brahms.  On the next Symphony @ 7  this Thursday evening, Leonidas Kavakos will be in the spotlight as soloist in his recent recording of the Brahms concerto with the Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly.

Brahms' great masterpiece from 1878 is one of the staples of the Romantic violin literature.  The violinist Joseph Joachim, to whom the concerto was dedicated, said of it, that while Beethoven's is the greatest and most uncompromising, "the one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness."   

Also on the program Thursday evening, a work for orchestra by the Italian opera composer Alfredo Catalani.  He's best-known for the 1892 opera La Wally, primarily for the popular soprano aria" Ebben? Ne andro lontana."  The single-movement Il Mattino, Sinfonia romantica ("Morning," Romantic symphony) is a relatively early work  from 1874 and will close the hour on the next Symphony @ 7 on Classical 101.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOR1bU3XwPY