Leonidas Kavakos has been announced as the winner of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2017

Leonidas Kavakos

This prestigious prize is awarded annually to an internationally recognised composer, instrumentalist, conductor or singer. Since 1959, the distinguished list of previous prize-winners includes Sir Simon Rattle, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Pierre Boulez, Mstislav Rostropovich, Miles Davis, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein.

The prize will be awarded at a concert on 12 January 2017 at the Koncerthuset, DR Byen, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi, where Kavakos will play violin concerti by J.S. Bach, Berg and Brahms.

The Prize Concert will be the main event of a mini festival where Leonidas Kavakos will perform at various events in Copenhagen:

Tuesday 10 January, Mogens Dahl Concert Hall – Recital with Enrico Pace (piano). Programme to include Beethoven Violin Sonatas

Thursday 12 January, Koncerthuset – Prize Concert

Friday 13 January, Danish Academy of Music – Public masterclass with violin students from the Academy

Saturday 14 January, Koncerthuset – Brahms Violin Concerto at a symphonic concert with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi

Léonie Sonning Music Prize

Leonidas Kavakos is the fifth violinist to be awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize. Before him, the Music Prize has been awarded to Yehudi Menuhin (1972), Isaac Stern (1982), Gidon Kremer (1989) and Anne-Sophie Mutter (2001).

British composer Thomas Adès received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2015 on 8 October and, on 7 April this year, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2016 will be presented to conductor Herbert Blomstedt.

“Leonidas Kavakos is one of the most expressive violinists you can hear today. He interprets the masterpieces for violin from Bach and Mozart to the classics of the 20th century with authority and with profound musical understanding. His strong personality, virtuosity and the honest, direct nature of his playing mark him out as an artist of rare calibre.”

Esben Tange, Chairman of the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Leonidas Kavakos and Denmark

Leonidas Kavakos has performed in Denmark several times over many years both as a soloist with orchestra and as chamber musician. In March 2006 he first performed with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, under Andrey Boreyko, as the soloist in Carl Nielsen’s Violin Concerto. After the concert, the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote: “Greek Leonidas Kavakos performed to the jubilant joy of all Greek and Danish Gods … Kavakos gave Nielsen special warmth and intensity.” And in December 2015 when Leonidas Kavakos performed as soloist in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, the newspaper Berlingske wrote: “Arguably the world’s best violinist today… A warm-hearted and intellectually distinguished human being.”

On 29 January 2016, Leonidas Kavakos will conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for the first time, in a concert where, in addition to Strauss Tod und Verklärung and Haydn Symphony No.83, he will perform as a soloist in Mozart Violin Concerto No.3.