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Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
Yuja Wang, Piano

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yuja Wang and Leonidas Kavakos by Decca / Ben Ealovega
A pair of superstars share the stage in their eagerly awaited return to Carnegie Hall. Violinist Leonidas Kavakos’s playing has been praised by The New York Times for its “balance of pyrotechnics and lyricism.” Yuja Wang has been called “quite simply the most dazzlingly, uncannily gifted pianist in the concert world today” (San Francisco Chronicle). Each outstanding soloists, together “they sound like a single organism” (Financial Times), and are certain to leave you breathless with the beauty and intensity of their performance.

Leonidas Kavakos is also performing October 4 and March 3.

Yuja Wang is also performing October 26, February 11, April 10, May 1, and May 2.


Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
Yuja Wang, Piano


BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100

PROKOFIEV Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80

BARTÓK Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano

R. STRAUSS Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18


BRAHMS Un poco presto e con sentimento from Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108

SZYMANOWSKI "La Fontaine d’Arethuse" from Mythes for Violin and Piano, Op. 30

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Yuja Wang: 2018–2019 Perspectives Artist

At a Glance

BRAHMS  Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100

Composed between 1879 and 1888, Brahms’s three sonatas for violin and piano are works of mature and unostentatious mastery. In contrast with the Violin Concerto of 1878, the sonatas are predominantly intimate and conversational in tone. The warmth and intimacy of the A-Major Sonata reflect the composer’s close friendship and artistic collaboration with violinist Joseph Joachim.


PROKOFIEV  Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80

Like much of the music Prokofiev wrote after his return to the Soviet Union in 1936, the dark-minded Sonata in F Minor represents an earnest attempt to mediate between his distinctively modernist style and the music for the masses that Soviet artists were expected to produce under the banner of “socialist realism.” The virtuosic brilliance of the violin part reflects the influence of David Oistrakh, to whom the sonata is dedicated.


BARTÓK  Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano

Bartók mined Hungarian and Romanian folk music for the themes of his popular Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano. According to violinist Joseph Szigeti, the composer drew a distinction between “the unimaginative, premeditated incorporation” of folk material and “that degree of saturation with the folklore of one’s country which unconsciously and decisively affects the composer’s melodic invention, his palette, and his rhythmic imaginings.”


R. STRAUSS  Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18

Written in 1887, when Strauss was just 23 years old, the Sonata in E-flat Major contains the seeds of the musical genius that would soon bear fruit in his pathbreaking symphonic tone poems and operas. Op. 18 was his last piece of abstract chamber music; virtually all of his later instrumental works would be inspired by literary or philosophical programs. 


Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos is recognized as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known for the integrity of his playing and for his virtuosity and superb musicianship. By age 21, Mr. Kavakos had ...

Leonidas Kavakos is recognized as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known for the integrity of his playing and for his virtuosity and superb musicianship. By age 21, Mr. Kavakos had won three major competitions: the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (1985), the Paganini Competition (1988), and the Naumburg International Piano Competition (1988). This success led to his recording the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903–1904), the first recording of the work in history, which won the Gramophone Concerto of the Year Award in 1991. Mr. Kavakos was awarded the Gramophone Artist of the Year Award in 2014, and was the winner of Denmark’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2017.

During the 2018–2019 season, Mr. Kavakos is an artist-in-residence at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In North America, he performs with the San Francisco Symphony, and is joined by pianist Enrico Pace on a US recital tour to Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Seattle, Fort Worth, and Philadelphia. Highlights in Europe include a tour with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma in performances of Brahms’s trios, and appearances as soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, among others. In addition, Mr. Kavakos tours to China, giving both recital and orchestral performances. He also has built a strong profile as a conductor, leading the Vienna Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Budapest Festival Orchestra this season.

Mr. Kavakos recently signed an exclusive contract with Sony Classical, for whom he has previously recorded Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Mozart’s violin concertos, play-conducting with Camerata Salzburg. In the fall of 2017, Mr. Kavakos joined Mr. Ma and Mr. Ax for a highly successful recording of Brahms’s trios for the label. Upcoming recording projects include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, which he will play-conduct with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, followed by Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas. Mr. Kavakos’s recordings on the Decca label include Virtuoso; Brahms’s violin sonatas with Yuja Wang; Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly; and the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Mr. Pace. Mr. Kavakos plays the “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin of 1734.

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Yuja Wang

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, she is set to achieve ...

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, she is set to achieve new heights during the 2018–2019 season, which features recitals, concert series, season residencies, and extensive tours with some of the world’s most venerated ensembles and conductors.

Ms. Wang began the current season with a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons, followed by a tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko that featured Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. In the spring of 2019, Ms. Wang embarks on a tour to Los Angeles, Seoul, and Tokyo with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to give the first-ever performances of John Adams’s new piano concerto. She also reunites with cellist and frequent collaborator Gautier Capuçon for a vast chamber tour of the United States.

Additional engagements this season include an extensive recital tour to South America, several concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev in Asia, concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Versailles, performances at the Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn with Gustavo Dudamel, tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and concerts in Istanbul, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Kotor. In addition to this evening’s concert, Ms. Wang’s Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall includes performances with Martin Grubinger, Igudesman & Joo, Gautier Capuçon, and the New World Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas. This season, Ms. Wang also is an artist in residence at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Luxembourg’s Philharmonie.

Ms. Wang was born into a musical family in Beijing, China. After childhood piano studies, she received advanced training in Canada and at the Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Ms. Wang’s international breakthrough came in 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon two years later, and has since established her place among the world’s leading artists with a succession of critically acclaimed performances and recordings. Ms. Wang was named Musical America’s 2017 Artist of the Year.

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