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Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
JÖRG WIDMANN Con brio
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5
ENESCU "Ménétrier" ("The Fiddler") from Impressions d’enfance, Op. 28, No. 1
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Video directed by Habib Azar.
The Munich Philharmonic and its renowned conductors have vastly enriched Munich’s musical life since the orchestra’s founding in 1893. Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premieres of his Fourth and Eighth symphonies; in November 1911, the world premiere of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde took place under Bruno Walter’s direction. Ferdinand Löwe led the orchestra’s first Bruckner concerts and established its Bruckner tradition, which was then gloriously continued by Siegmund von Hausegger and Oswald Kabasta.
During the Rudolf Kempe era, the Philharmonic made its first tour to what was then the USSR. Later, the legendary Bruckner concerts with general music director Sergiu Celibidache made a major contribution to the orchestra’s international reputation. With chief conductor James Levine, the orchestra won the prize for the Best Concert Program in the 2002–2003 Season from the German Music Publishers Association. In 2004, the Munich Philharmonic named Zubin Mehta the first conductor laureate in the orchestra’s history. For the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich, chief conductor Christian Thielemann conducted two performances of the work. He was succeeded as chief conductor by Lorin Maazel, who held the position until his death in 2014.
Valery Gergiev has held the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic since the 2015–2016 season. Tours have taken the orchestra to numerous European cities, as well as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and the US. Program highlights conceived by Mr. Gergiev include performances of symphonic cycles by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff, as well as the MPHIL 360° festival. The Philharmonic’s concerts are regularly broadcast via livestream and on radio and TV. In September 2016, the first CD recordings documenting the Munich Philharmonic’s work were released under the orchestra’s own label, MPHIL. Between 2017 and 2019, the Munich Philharmonic and Mr. Gergiev completed their Bruckner cycle: a major multimedia project that took place at the famous basilica of St. Florian Monastery, the composer’s final resting place.
Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin. In 1978 at age 24, Mr. Gergiev became assistant conductor to Yuri Temirkanov at the Mariinsky Opera, where he made his debut conducting Prokofiev’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. More than two decades ago, he assumed his current position as director of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, which has since become a cornerstone of operatic culture in Russia.
Mr. Gergiev’s close cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic began in the 2011–2012 season; he has held the position of chief conductor since the 2015–2016 season. He has since performed all of Shostakovich’s symphonies and a cycle of works by Stravinsky with both the Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra.
Between 2017 and 2019, the Munich Philharmonic and Mr. Gergiev completed their Bruckner cycle: a major multimedia project that took place at the famous basilica of St. Florian Monastery, the composer’s final resting place.
Leonidas Kavakos was born in Athens. By age 21, had won three major competitions: the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (1985), Paganini Competition (1988), and Naumburg International Violin 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 works with the world’s greatest conductors and orchestras. Recent highlights include a season as artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and recitals with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax at the Tanglewood Festival, where he also appeared as conductor and soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was named the 2019 Lucerne Festival’s “artiste étoile.”
During the 2019–2020 season, Mr. Kavakos joins Mr. Ma and Mr. Ax for three Beethoven programs at Carnegie Hall. He also undertakes two tours to Asia, one of which features the complete Beethoven sonatas with Enrico Pace (in Shanghai and Guangzhou).
Mr. Kavakos is also active as a conductor, and has directed orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Mr. Kavakos is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classical. Among his many albums are Beethoven’s violin sonatas with Mr. Pace, Brahms’s piano trios with Mr. Ax and Mr. Ma, Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, Brahms’s violin sonatas with Yuja Wang, and Mendelssohn’s and Mozart’s violin concertos with Camerata Salzburg.
Mr. Kavakos was named Gramophone Artist of Year in 2014 and was awarded Denmark’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2017. He plays the “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin of 1734.