Leonidas Kavakos is currently one of the most notorious violonists who is in great demand. He was born in Athens into a family of musicians with a strong tradition for popular music. He began his violin studies with his father, continuing then at the Greek Conservatory with Stelios Kafantaris. A scolarship from the Onassis Foundation allowed him to participate in Joseph Gingold's masterclass in the University of Indiana. He made his debut at the Athens Festival in 1984. Leonidas Kavakos became famous in Europe very quickly following victor at the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and the Paganini Competition in 1988. His debut at the BBC Proms in London, at the Festivals in Edinburg, Salzburg, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Saratoga and at the Hollywood Bowl were followed by invitations from many of the most important international orchestras, among which are the London Symphonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the Birmingham City Symphony, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Munich, the NDR Hamburg, the NHK and in North America, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago and the Montreal Symphonic Orchestras and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras.
Leonidas Kavakos, performing as a soloist in orchestras, has collaborated with many renowned conductors among which Conlon, Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Sir Andrew Davis, Metzmacher, Norrington, Oramo and Salonen as well as Slatkin, Vänskä, Vegh, Sawallisch e Welser-Möst.
Principal events of the 2001-2002 season include his debut as the Principal Guest Artist of the Salzburg Camerata which was followed by performances in Germany and Austria, a tour in Germany with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and in Macau with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of RAI in Turin, the Symphonic Orchestra of Gothenburg, debuts with the Symphonic Orchestra of Toronto, l'Orchestre de Paris and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Firenze and recitals in Paris, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
In the 2002/2003 season he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, la Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and appeared at the Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals. He has also been on tour with the Philharmonic Orchestras of Rotterdam and Hamburg, and has performed at the Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Sawallisch and in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Masur. Other appointments in the future include new concerts with the NHK, a tour with the Orchestra of the Budapest Festival and recitals in Paris, Dublin, Tokyo and Italy.
Leonidas Kavakos often performs chamber music and he was Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Cycle, which was founded by him in Megaron in Athens, until 1992. He appears regularly in the most prestigious festivals of the world in collaboration with renowned musicians such as Davidovich, Gutman, Imai, Kashkashian, Rostropovich and Vogt. Leonidas Kavakos' vast repertoire is reflected in the interesting programmes with which he is engaged and for which he received great reviews: his world première recording of the original version of the Sibelius' Violin Concerto (BIS) won a Gramophone Award in 1991 and he continued with the recent recording of Hindemith's Concert (Chandos), and also with a CD of Ysale's Sonatas (BIS), which was described as the best recording ever of these works. He also carried out a recording of music by Kreisler (BIS), chosen as the Editor's Choice in the April 2001 edition of Gramophone Magazine. As well as playing the Korngold Concert in a concert/documentary for ARTE TV, Leonidas Kavakos was the only soloist in the recent series of Masterworks of BBC Television, performing in the Berg's Elegiac Concert with the BBC SO conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. He was recently nominated Principal Guest Artist of the Salzburg Camerata. This role allowed Leonidas Kavakos to create programmes, conduct and play in the most famous theatres of the world with this famous ensemble. Leonidas Kavakos plays the Stradivari Falmouth of 1692.