WINTERFEST GALA 2018
Emanuel Ax – Leonidas Kavakos – Yo-Yo Ma
Three of the world’s greatest musicians form a “super trio” for an unforgettable performance exploring the piano trios of Johannes Brahms.
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Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
|BRAHMS||Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87|
|BRAHMS||Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 101|
|BRAHMS||Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8|
Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studied at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
Two major projects are planned for the second half of the upcoming 2014-15 season, the first being a two week "Celebrate the Piano" festival with the Toronto Symphony curated by Mr. Ax that will present performances by multiple pianists, including Mr. Ax, exploring the many facets of the piano. The second will be a European tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin beginning with a joint appearance in Carnegie Hall. Throughout the season he will return to the orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Montreal and Ottawa. Recitals will take him to Vancouver, San Francisco and the mid-west ending in Lincoln Center's Tully Hall where he will also appear in duo with baritone Simon Keenlyside. In Europe he will return to the Berlin Philharmonic followed by a tour to Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and London performing Winterreise with Simon Keenlyside as well as presenting both Brahms Concerti in Amsterdam and Paris with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Bernard Haitink. Other European orchestras this season feature the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich and the National Orchestras of Toulouse and Lyon.
The 2013/14 season began with appearances at the Barbican Centre followed by Lincoln Center with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink as well as collaborations with the Concertgebouworkester and Mariss Jansons in Amsterdam, Bucharest, China and Japan during their world-wide centenary celebrations. The second half of the season saw the realization of a project inspired by Brahms which included new pieces from composers Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and Brett Dean all producing works linked to Brahms commissioned jointly between the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cal Performances Berkeley, Chicago Symphony and Carnegie Hall with the participation of collaborators Anne-Sophie von Otter and Yo-Yo Ma. To conclude the season, he traveled to Hong Kong and Australia for a complete cycle of Beethoven concerti with Chief Conductor David Robertson in Sydney and with Sir Andrew Davis in Melbourne.
A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo- Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss's Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax's recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music)/Piano.
In recent years, Mr. Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. Mr. Ax is also devoted to chamber music, and has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia Universities. For more information about Mr. Ax’s career, please visit www.EmanuelAx.com.
Emanuel Ax last performed for La Jolla Music Society in a Special Event on January 20, 2016.
The three important mentors in his life are Stelios Kafantaris, Josef Gingold and Ferenc Rados. By the age of 21, Leonidas Kavakos had already won three major competitions, the Sibelius Competition in 1985, and the Paganini and Naumburg competitions in 1988. This success led to his recording the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903/4), the first recording of this work in history. It won Gramophone Concerto of the Year Award in 1991. The orchestras with whom Kavakos has developed close relationships include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Eschenbach/Chailly) Berliner Philharmoniker (Rattle), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Jansons/Gatti), London Symphony Orchestra (Gergiev/Rattle) and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Chailly). Kavakos also works closely with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and, in the USA, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. This season, he tours with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to Spain, with the Bayerischer Rundfunk to the USA and plays at the Verbier, White Nights, Edinburgh International, Tanglewood and Annecy Classic festivals, as well as a cycle of Beethoven Sonatas at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele.
Latterly, Leonidas Kavakos has built a strong profile as a conductor, working with the London and Boston symphony orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wiener Symphoniker (VSO) and Budapest Festival orchestras. This season, Kavakos returns as conductor to the VSO, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and, for the first time, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Danish National Symphony, Netherlands Radio Symphony and Rotterdam Philharmonic orchestras and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. His first release on Decca Classics, the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Enrico Pace (January 2013), resulted in the ECHO Klassik award ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’, followed by the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Riccardo Chailly (October 2013), and Brahms Violin Sonatas with Yuja Wang, (March 2014). He was awarded Gramophone Artist of the Year 2014. His earlier discography includes recordings for BIS, ECM, and subsequently, for Sony Classical, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (ECHO Klassik ‘Best Concerto Recording’) and Mozart’s Violin Concertos, conducting and playing with Camerata Salzburg.
Born and brought up in a musical family in Athens, he curated a chamber music cycle 15 years at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall, featuring Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, Menahem Pressler, Emanuel Ax, Nikolai Lugansky, Yuja Wang and Gautier Capuçon, among others. Kavakos curates an annual violin and chamber-music masterclass in Athens, attracting violinists and ensembles from all over the world and reflecting his deep commitment to the handing on of musical knowledge and traditions. The art of violin- and bow-making is considered by Kavakos a great mystery and, to our day, an undisclosed secret. He plays the ‘Abergavenny’ Stradivarius violin of 1724 and owns modern violins made by F. Leonhard, S.P. Greiner, E. Haahti and D. Bagué.
Leonidas Kavakos last performed with La Jolla Music Society in a Special Event on february 11, 2017.
For more information visit www.leonidaskavakos.com
Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.
Yo-Yo Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras throughout the world and his recital and chamber music activities. He draws inspiration from a wide circle of collaborators, creating programs with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Kayhan Kalhor, Ton Koopman, Bobby McFerrin, Edgar Meyer, Mark Morris, Riccardo Muti, Mark O’Connor, Kathryn Stott, Michael Tilson Thomas, Wu Man, Wu Tong, Damian Woetzel, and David Zinman. Each of these collaborations is fueled by the artists’ interactions, often extending the boundaries of a particular genre. One of Mr. Ma’s goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication, and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas, across a range of cultures throughout the world. To that end, he has taken time to immerse himself in subjects as diverse as native Chinese music with its distinctive instruments and the music of the Kalahari bush people in Africa.
Expanding upon this interest, in 1998, Mr. Ma established the Silk Road Project, a nonprofit arts and educational organization that takes its inspiration from the historic Silk Road trading routes as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange. Under his artistic direction, the Silk Road Project presents performances by the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble, engages in cross-cultural exchanges and residencies, leads workshops for students, and partners with leading cultural institutions to create educational materials and programs.
The Project’s ongoing affiliation with Harvard University has made it possible to broaden and enhance educational programming. Since the 2010-2011 school year, with ongoing partnerships with arts and educational organizations in New York City, it continues to expand Silk Road Connect, a multidisciplinary educational initiative for middle-school students in the city’s public schools. Developing new music is also a central undertaking of the Silk Road Project, which has been involved in commissioning and performing more than 60 new musical and multimedia works from composers and arrangers around the world. Through his work with the Silk Road Project, as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma seeks to expand the cello repertoire, frequently performing lesser known music of the 20th century and commissions of new concertos and recital pieces. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, among them Stephen Albert, Elliott Carter, Chen Yi, Richard Danielpour, Osvaldo Golijov, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Peter Lieberson, Christopher Rouse, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, John Williams and Dmitry Yanov-Yanovsky.
As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, Mr. Ma is partnering with Maestro Riccardo Muti to provide collaborative musical leadership and guidance on innovative program development for The Institute for Learning, Access and Training at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and for Chicago Symphony artistic initiatives. Mr. Ma’s work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities. Mr. Ma and the Institute have created the Citizen Musician Initiative, a movement that calls on all musicians, music lovers, music teachers and institutions to use the art form to bridge gulfs between people and to create and inspire a sense of community. www.citizenmusician.org features stories of Citizen Musician activity across the globe.
Yo-Yo Ma is strongly committed to educational programs that not only bring young audiences into contact with music but also allow them to participate in its creation. While touring, he takes time whenever possible to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – musicians and non-musicians alike. At the same time, he continues to develop new concert programs for family audiences, for instance, helping to inaugurate the family series at Carnegie Hall. In each of these undertakings, he works to connect music to students’ daily surroundings and activities with the goal of making music and creativity a vital part of children’s lives from an early age. He has also reached young audiences through appearances on “Arthur,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street.”
Mr. Ma’s discography of over 75 albums (including more than 15 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. He has made several successful recordings that defy categorization, among them “Hush” with Bobby McFerrin, “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, “Obrigado Brazil” and “Obrigado Brazil – Live in Concert.” His recent collaborations with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan resulted in “The Goat Rodeo Sessions”. Across this full range of releases, Mr. Ma remains one of the best-selling recording artists in the classical field. All of his recent albums have quickly entered the Billboard chart of classical best sellers, remaining in the Top 15 for extended periods, often with as many as four titles simultaneously on the list. In fall 2009, Sony Classical released a box set of over 90 albums to commemorate Mr. Ma’s 30 years as a Sony recording artist.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Sonning Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008) the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010) the Kennedy Center Honors (2011), and most recently the Polar Music Prize (2012). Appointed a CultureConnect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Mr. Ma has met with, trained and mentored thousands of students worldwide in countries including Lithuania, Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and China. Mr. Ma serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities. He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.
Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
Yo-Yo Ma last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Celebrity Recital Series on March 12, 2014.