The COE and Leonidas Kavakos
29 May - 3 June 2018
On 1 and 2 June, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe returns to the Philharmonie in Paris and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam for two concerts with Leonidas Kavakos. He will perform Bach’s Violin Concerto in D minor (BWV 1052) and conduct the Orchestra in Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven’s epic ‘Eroica’ Symphony No. 3.
In recent years, top-class violinist and conductor Leonidas Kavakos has explored his twofold vocation with the COE both as a soloist and by leading various play-direct concerts in Dijon, Oviedo, Lisbon, Lucerne and most recently in Seoul. He first appeared with the COE as a soloist under the baton of Ingo Metzmacher in Stravinsky’s Concerto in D major in 2002, the same year in which he made his debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This time round, it was Leonidas who invited the COE to perform in the ‘carte blanche’ season as part of his current artist residency at the Concertgebouw.
Leonidas Kavakos said the following about working with the COE:
“It is always a pleasure to work with this orchestra. It is full of spirit, respect and love for the music and full of amazingly talented players. One feels the possibilities are endless to explore and try to bring new dynamics to the music, even if it is music that is played quite often.”
Leonidas will conduct the COE in Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, which was last performed by the Orchestra at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016 under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski and with Ivan Fischer at the Concertgebouw in 2010. Beethoven is at the core of the Orchestra’s repertoire, recalling memories of the award-winning box-set of the complete Beethoven Symphonies recorded with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in 1991. The first COE performance of the ‘Eroica’ Symphony goes back to 1989 with John Eliot Gardiner at the Teatro Communale in Ferrara and the epic work has been performed numerous times ever since under Haitink, Blomstedt, Hengelbrock, Nézet-Séguin and now Kavakos.
Leonidas Kavakos rehearses Schubert's Symphony No. 5 with the COE in Paris on 1 June 2018.
Rehearsal footage of Leonidas Kavakos playing Bach Violin Concert in D minor during a balance rehearsal at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 2 June 2018.
The COE is delighted to continue the close collaboration with the Greek violin virtuoso and conductor in Paris and Amsterdam. Following the Orchestra’s debut concert tour to Seoul in March, COE members have said the following about Leonidas Kavakos:
“Leonidas is offering a quite unique skill set to the COE with his tremendous knowledge and respect for what is written in the score. He cares so much about the music and makes us listen to what he reads and sees in the score. Highlighting for instance seven particular notes in the viola part, he turns them into a narrative and lets us tell the story. As an outstanding violinist he also knows how to make use of the body and approach your instrument as an extension of yourself, connecting body, soul, and intelligence.”
Claudia Hofert (viola)
“It has been the most inspiring and liberating experience to work so closely with one of the best string players in the world today. Making music together with Leonidas Kavakos makes me feel like we’re one big chamber group.”
Henrik Brendstrup (cello)
Ever since the COE’s first concert at the Concertgebouw, which was led by Claudio Abbado in 1982, the Orchestra returns yearly to the prestigious concert hall. This special relationship was strengthened by the 2-year Beethoven cycle with Haitink in 2011 that was instigated by the Lucerne Festival. That project was shared by the Philharmonie de Paris and developed into two further key projects with Bernard Haitink, the major Brahms and Schumann cycles.
The Cité de la musique has been a home to the COE since 1995, having performed more than 70 concerts at the hall to date under the baton of some of the most esteemed conductors including Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Emmanuel Krivine and Sir András Schiff. The Schumann and Mendelssohn Symphony cycles with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in 2012 and 2016 have been a landmark in the collaboration with the Philharmonie de Paris, resulting in the recordings with Deutsche Grammophon.