Kyoko Takezawa, Japan – Gold Medalist
As the embodiment of musicality, violinist Kyoko Takezawa electrifies audiences with a richness of playing, a virtuosic confidence of feeling, and a fiery intensity that establishes her as one of today’s foremost violinists. Ms. Takezawa’s interpretive insight and indisputable talent have made her a sought‐after soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Ms. Takezawa has performed as soloist with such prominent ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Cleveland, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Houston, Toronto, Seattle, Dallas, Montreal, Detroit, and Cincinnati. Abroad, she has been heard with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the London Symphony, the Bournemouth Symphony, Manchester’s Halle Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony, Denmark’s Aarhus Symphony, the Kymi Sinfonietta in Finland, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, the Orchestra National de Radio France, France’s Orchestre National de Lille, the Philharmonia Orchestra for its Spain tour, the West Australian Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, the NHK Symphony, the Kanagawa Philharmonic, the Singapore, Guangzhou, Nagoya, and Osaka Century Orchestras, and the New Japan Philharmonic. She also appeared as the feature soloist on the Hamburg NDR Symphony tour of Japan. She has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowski, and Sir Andrew Davis. She has performed recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London, in Germany, and in Italy, and she gave a recital tour in 7 cities in Japan with Itamar Golan as part of a three year project celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut. She has performed at major venues around the world, notably Carnegie Hall in New York; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; London’s BBC Proms; Musikverein in Vienna, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. A highly accomplished chamber music performer, Ms. Takezawa has participated in the Grand Teton Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, Great Mountain Music Festival in Korea, Casals Festival in Prades, and at the first Taipei International Chamber Music Festival with Cho-Liang Lin. Also she has been a regular guest for the La Folle Journée Festival in Japan. Ms. Takezawa’s chamber music performances have drawn high praise, and as co‐director of the Suntory Festival Soloists of Suntory Hall in Tokyo, she has collaborated with the late Isaac Stern, Yo‐Yo Ma, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Joseph Suk, Pinchas Zukerman and many other distinguished artists. A prolific recording artist, her most recent CD features all the Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Itamar Golan by Sony Music Japan. Other recordings are heard on BMG’s RCA Victor Red Seal label, a recital CD titled Romanza, performances of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14, by Samuel Barber with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Brahms Violin Concerto and the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Violin Concerto No. 2 by Bartók with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony; and the Mendelssohn Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with Klaus Peter Flor and the Bamberg Symphony. Ms. Takezawa’s CD of French violin sonatas was selected as one of the best recordings of 1993 by Stereo Review. Ms. Takezawa also has numerous television credits, including Concerto! hosted by Dudley Moore on which she performed Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto on the BBC Channel 4 morning show, and a two hour documentary program by TV Aichi in Japan. Ms. Takezawa began violin studies at the age of three and at seven toured the United States, Canada and Switzerland as a member of the Suzuki Method Association. In 1982 she placed first in the 51st Annual Japan Music Competition, and at 17 she entered the Aspen Music School to study with Dorothy DeLay, with whom Ms. Takezawa continued to study at The Juilliard School until graduating in 1989. In 1986 she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Second Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Ms. Takezawa is on the faculty of Toho Music School in Japan and has served as a jury member for both the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the Menuhin Competition. She has been honored to receive the prestigious Idemitsu Award for outstanding musicianship and the Aichi Art Cultural Award.
Leonidas Kavakos, Greece – Silver Medalist
Leonidas Kavakos is recognized across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, known at the highest level for his virtuosity, superb musicianship and the integrity of his playing. Born in Athens into a musical family, Mr. Kavakos’s first steps as a violinist were guided by his parents. He studied at the Hellenic Conservatory with Stelios Kafantaris, one of the three important mentors in his life, together with Josef Gingold and Ferenc Rados. With three competitions to his name before the age of 21, he won the Sibelius Competition in 1985, and the Paganini and Naumburg competitions in 1988. These successes led to his recording the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903/4) for the first time in history, recognised with a Gramophone Award, and to the honor of performing on the famous ‘Il Cannone’ Guarneri del Gesù, which belonged to Paganini. Mr. Kavakos’s international career has allowed him to develop close relationships with the world’s major orchestras and conductors, such as the Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle, Royal Concertgebouw/Jansons, London Symphony Orchestra/Gergiev, and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Chailly. In the 2012/13 season he had residencies with the London Symphony Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker, and he performed with the Concertgebouw and Mariss Jansons on its Jubilee tour, playing a piece originally premiered by the orchestra: Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Recently Mr. Kavakos made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic/Chailly. In the USA, he performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. Mr. Kavakos has always retained strong links with his native Greece. For 15 years he curated a chamber music cycle at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) that featured his musical friends, including Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, Emanuel Ax, Nikolai Lugansky, Yuja Wang, and Gautier Capuçon. In his burgeoning career as a conductor he has worked with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the Vienna Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, and Rotterdam Philharmonic orchestras. In the USA, he has conducted the Boston, Atlanta, and Saint Louis symphony orchestras. Recent season conducting highlights included return engagements with the Boston Symphony, Budapest Festival, Gothenburg Symphony, and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestras, as well as important conducting debuts with the LSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Mr. Kavakos also performed the whole Beethoven cycle with Pace at New York’s Carnegie Hall, as well as in the Far East. Since 2012, Mr. Kavakos has been an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist. His first release on the label, the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Enrico Pace, resulted in the award of ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the 2013 ECHO Klassik Awards. Mr. Kavakos’s second disc with Decca Classics, released in October 2013, is of the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Riccardo Chailly, and a third disc, of Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Yuja Wang, was released in spring 2014. During this season and next, Mr. Kavakos and Yuja Wang will give a series of Brahms recitals in major European cities. Following the Sibelius and other early recordings for Dynamic, BIS, and ECM, Mr. Kavakos recorded for Sony Classical, including live recordings of Mozart’s five Violin Concertos and Symphony No. 39 with Camerata Salzburg and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, for which, in 2009, he received an ECHO Klassik ‘Best Concerto Recording’ award. For the past few years Mr. Kavakos has curated 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. Leonidas Kavakos is passionate about the art of violin and bow making, both in the past and now, in the present. Mr. Kavakos considers instrument making to be 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. Bague. Bows by F.X. Tourte, D. Peccatte, J.P.M. Persois, and J. Henry are his most precious companions.
Andrés Cárdenes, United States – Bronze Medalist
Recognized worldwide as a musical phenomenon, Grammy-nominated Andrés Cárdenes parlays his myriad talents into one of classical music’s most versatile careers. An intensely passionate and personally charismatic artist, the Cuban-born violinist has garnered international acclaim from critics and audiences alike for his compelling performances as a violinist, conductor, violist, chamber musician, concertmaster, and recording artist. Since capturing Second Prize in the 1982 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in Moscow, Mr. Cárdenes has appeared as a soloist on four continents with over 100 orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony, Sinfonica Nacional de Caracas, Sinfonica de Barcelona, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. He has collaborated with many of today’s greatest conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Mariss Jansons, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, Jaap van Zweden, David Zinman, and Manfred Honeck. Mr. Cárdenes continues his project to record many standard and contemporary concerti. He has released recordings of concerti by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Barber, and David Stock on the Artek and Albany labels. A recording of the complete works for violin by Leonardo Balada on Naxos and the Tchaikovsky Suite No. 4 “Mozartiana” with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra were released in 2010. The complete Sonatas by both Hindemith and Brahms, along with the Beethoven Violin Concerto are soon to be released on Artek. Plans to record Schubert’s complete violin and piano music with David Deveau are slated for 2014, along with other sonata recordings with pianist Ian Hobson. Mr. Cárdenes discography includes over two dozen recordings of concerti, sonatas, short works, orchestral and chamber music on the Ocean, Naxos, Albany, Sony, Arabesque, RCA, ProArte, Telarc, Artek, Melodya, and Enharmonic labels. As an ambassador for music of our time, Mr. Cárdenes has commissioned and premiered over 65 works by American and Latin American composers such as David Stock, Mike Garson, Leonardo Balada, Ricardo Lorenz, Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, Roberto Sierra, and Marilyn Taft Thomas. His concerto repertoire includes over 100 works, ranging from the Baroque era to the present. Mr. Cárdenes has thrice served as President of the Jury of the Stradivarius International Violin Competition and in 2011 joined the jury of the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Cultural Ambassador for UNICEF from 1980-1991 and an indefatigable spokesperson for the arts, Mr. Cárdenes has received numerous awards for his teaching, performances, recordings, and humanitarian efforts, most notably from the Mexican Red Cross and the cities of Los Angeles and Shanghai. He was named Pittsburgh Magazine’s 1997 Classical Artist of the Year and received the 2001 “Shalom” Award from Kollell’s International Jewish Center and the 2013 Chesed-Kindness Award from the Chabad Foundation for promoting world harmony and peace through music. Mr. Cárdenes has a renowned teaching and pedagogical career that began as an assistant to his teacher and mentor Josef Gingold at Indiana University. Today, he continues Professor Gingold’s legacy, as a proponent of the Franco-Belgian School of Violin Playing and while teaching master classes internationally. He traces his musical lineage to Eugéne Ysaÿe and as far back as Corelli. Mr. Cárdenes has served on the faculties of Indiana University, the University of Utah, and University of Michigan, and currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Violin Studies and the Dorothy Richard Starling / Alexander Speyer Jr. Endowed Chair at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music. He also held a two-year appointment as Artist-in-Residence at University of Colorado, Boulder, ending in 2012. Mr. Cárdenes was appointed Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Maestro Lorin Maazel in 1989 and departed after the 2010 season to concentrate on his conducting, solo and chamber music careers.
Chin Kim, South Korea
Acclaimed for his deep musicality and virtuosity, Chin Kim, one of the most versatile and sought-after violinists today, has been concertizing extensively throughout North America, Asia, and Europe as guest artist with orchestras as those of Philadelphia, St. Louis, Montréal, and Atlanta with conductors like Leonard Slatkin, John Nelson, Myung Whun Chung, and Sixten Ehrling. As recitalist, Mr. Kim appeared in major halls of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Montréal, Toronto, Brussels, and Seoul. Top prizewinner in several of the most prestigious international violin competitions including the Concours International de Musique de Montréal, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Paganini Competition, and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Mr. Kim’s recent concerts include the performance of Bernstein’s Serenade with the Atlanta Symphony, Barber Concerto with Wayne Chamber Orchestra, and the Glazunov Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic. Mr. Kim’s debut recording of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in g minor with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (Russia) under the baton of Paul Freeman, and the Prokofiev Sonata No. 2 in D Major with pianist David Oei, was released on the ProArte/Fanfare label. His second CD consisting of the Mendelssohn c minor, and the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio with the “Starr-Kim-Boeckheler Piano Trio” was released on the Mastersound label, and his most recent CD, the Glazunov and Tchaikovsky Concertos was recorded by the Intersound/Fanfare label following the performances of the Concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic in the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, all to high critical acclaim. “Virtuoso,” “musically assertive,” “rich, golden tone” and “perceptive” are words of critical acclaim describing Mr. Kim’s performance of the Prokofiev Concerto No. 2 and Prokofiev Sonata No. 2 compact disc, “Kim’s deep, into-the-strings tone reminded me of a very favorite recording, the old David Oistrakh Soviet monaural recording,” “more than enough technique to master these piece” are words describing the Tchaikovsky, and the Glazunov Concertos recording. Chin Kim is the recipient of the Nan-Pa Prize awarded by the Nan-Pa Foundation in Korea, which is one of the highest honors given to a Korean-born musician. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music and, subsequently from The Juilliard School where he received the Petschek Award and won the Concerto Competition which led to the performance of the Glazunov Concerto with the Juilliard Philharmonia in Lincoln Center. With his busy performing schedule, he also teaches at the Mannes College of Music in New York. His major teachers include Dorothy DeLay, Ivan Galamian, and Josef Gingold.
Sungsic Yang, South Korea
The first grand prize winner of the 1988 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition in London, Sungsic Yang has established himself as one of the leading violinists of his generation. Mr. Yang’s international career includes performances with: the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Yehudi Menuhin, the Scottish National Symphony, the London Mozart Players, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ireland, the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra, the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra, the Gavleborgs Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, the Stavanger Philharmonic in Norway, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra under Lawrence Foster, the Orchestra Symphonique Français under Laurent Petitgirard, the London BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Davis, and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Dmitri Kitayenko, with whom a live recording of the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos have subsequently been released under the label CBS Korea. Following the success of this first collaboration, he was invited back to perform and record the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos for Sony Classical Korea in Moscow. At the request of Lorin Maazel, Sungsic Yang made his Paris concerto debut in 1988 with the Orchestre National de France at the occasion of the conductor’s first subscription concert as the music director of the orchestra. In addition to several studio recordings with the BBC Concert Orchestra and for Radio France, Mr. Yang’s European tour with the Seoul Philharmonic, the Scottish National Youth Orchestra, and the Gulbenkian Philharmony of Portugal has taken him to Barcelona, Frankfurt, Amsterdam (Concertgebow Hall), Rotterdam, Glasgow, Dublin, Budapest and throughout England. His recitals in prestigious Halls such as Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, Merkin Hall in New York were unanimously acclaimed both by the critics and the audiences. Sungsic Yang was born in Seoul, Korea, and started playing the violin at the age of four. While still only eleven he performed in recital and made his concerto debut performing the Mendelssohn concerto with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon his graduation from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, he was awarded a full scholarship to study with Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, until graduation in 1987. At the age of seventeen, he was awarded the third prize at the Paganini International Competition, and other international prizes were awarded from the Long-Thibaud, Lipizer, and Indianapolis International Competitions. In recent years, he was invited to represent Korea as a member of jury at the prestigious Long-Thibaud violin competition in Paris, the Paganini competition in Genoa, Jeunesse International Music competition in Belgrade, as well as Munetsugu competition in Nagoya, Japan. His recording “The Streghe,” works by Paganini for violin and guitar, is a record-setting success in Korea and is now becoming very popular in abroad as well. In September 2009 he was appointed Professor of Violin in Daegu Catholic University, and he has launched a new string chamber group the “Erato Ensemble” as the Music Director.
Annick Roussin, France
Annick Roussin started her musical training with Michèle Auclair at the Paris CNSMD – Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse. In 1977 she won the first violin prize and the first music chamber prize. She started an international career after having won several great prizes of international competitions (Long-Thibaud in 1979, Geneva in 1980, Tchaikovsky in 1982). She performed with orchestras like the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Collegium of Bâle, the Westfalisches Sinfonie-Orchester, the Radio Orchestra of Francfort and Stuttgart, the Limburgs Symfonie Orkest, the Morave Philharmony, and the philharmonic orchestra of Monte-Carlo, as well as several French orchestras (The Capitole Orchestra of Toulouse, the philharmonic Orchestra of Pays de Loire) and with well-known orchestra leaders like Vaclav Neumann, John Nelson, Charles Bruck, Karl Anton Rickenbacher, Serge Baudo, Roberto Benzi, and Michel Plasson. Annick is not only a soloist but she spends also a lot of time for the chamber music. She is invited in many festivals in France (Prades, Muiscades de Lyon, and others) and in the United States, Japan, Finland, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. Annick is complimented by the music critics for her concerts as well as her CD recordings (on the Harmonia Mundi, Accord, 3D, Calliope, and Grave labels). She was then successively appointed assistant for the Christian Ivaldi chamber music class, for Alain Moglia’s violin class, and for Boris Gartlitzky’s at the Paris CNSMD. Annick is currently a violin teacher at the Paris C.R.R., and she regularly gives master classes in Finland, the United States, and Canada.