Emanuel Ax, Piano
Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma recall the great chamber music ensembles anchored by violinist Isaac Stern. Stern’s collaborations with pianist Eugene Istomin and cellist Leonard Rose were legendary, and this program echoes their history of celebrated performances of Beethoven works. Hear a dramatic cello sonata, a violin sonata whose genial tone belies the difficult circumstances in which it was written, and a soulful and inventive trio.
Part of: Beethoven Celebration
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Emanuel Ax, Piano
Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
BEETHOVEN Cello Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 5, No. 2
BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2
BRAHMS Andante con moto from Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. Mr. Ax won the Michaels Award of the Young Concert Artists in 1975, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize.
Highlights of the 2019–2020 season include a tour of European summer festivals with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and longtime collaborative partner Bernard Haitink, a tour of Asia with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, US concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Lahav Shani, and three concerts with Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma. Further participation in Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven Celebration will culminate in a solo recital in May, which is preceded by recitals in Madison, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Washington, Las Vegas, and Colorado Springs. Mr. Ax performs with orchestras in Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. In Europe and abroad, he can be heard with orchestras in London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Rome, Zurich, Rotterdam, and Tel Aviv.
Mr. Ax has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987. One of his most recent recording features Brahms’s piano trios with Mr. Kavakos and Mr. Ma. He has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas, and made a series of Grammy-winning recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano with Mr. Ma. In the 2004–2005 season, Mr. Ax contributed to an International Emmy Award–winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust, which aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. His recording Variations received the ECHO Klassik award for Solo Recording of the Year in 2013.
Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary doctorate degrees in music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University. For more information, visit emanuelax.com.
Leonidas Kavakos is recognized as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known for his virtuosity, musicianship, and integrity of his playing. By age 21, he 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 Sibelius’s Violin Concerto—the first recording of this 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 2017 winner of Denmark’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
Highlights of Mr. Kavakos’s 2019–2020 season include a tour with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma performing Beethoven trios; solo performances with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Montreal; and appearances with the Munich Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in Boston. In Europe, he performs with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra, and Orchestre de Paris, among others. He performs in Asia with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan.
Mr. Kavakos has developed close relationships with many of the world’s leading orchestras; more recently, he has also built a strong profile as a conductor. This season, he conducts the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Czech Philharmonic, and RAI National Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Kavakos has an exclusive contract with Sony Classical, for whom he has recorded Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Mozart’s violin concertos (play-conducting with Camerata Salzburg), and Brahms’s trios with Mr. Ma and Mr. Ax. In October 2019, he released a recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, play-conducting with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming recording projects include J. S. Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas.
Mr. Kavakos plays the “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin of 1734.
Yo-Yo Ma’s multifaceted career is a testament to his enduring belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture’s social impact, or delving into unexpected musical forms, Mr. Ma strives to foster connections that stimulate our imagination and reinforce our humanity.
With partners from around the world and across disciplines, he creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making not only as a means to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society. It was this belief that inspired Mr. Ma to establish Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions.
In August 2018, Mr. Ma began a new journey, setting out to perform J. S. Bach’s six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world: iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert is an example of culture’s power to create moments of shared recognition, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.