The Greek violinist and conductor has been elected unanimously as a member of the prestigious institution
The Academy of Athens is the highest scientific institution in Greece and was founded in 1926 to promote the sciences, fine art, and humanities. The organization supports scientific research, finances publications, grants scholarships, and awards prizes.
In March 2022, internationally renowned violinist Leonidas Kavakos was declared a regular member of the Chair of Music in the Second Class of Letters and Fine Arts for his services to music — most notably in sharing classical music in Greece’s rural towns, where access to it is limited.
In the recent ceremony of his election to the Academy, Kavakos gave a speech titled “Life is Music and Music is Life,” and performed the Sarabande from Bach’s Partita no.1 in B minor on his 1734 “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin.
“It is a great honor for me to have been elected for the chair of Music at the Athens Academy!” Kavakos posted on Facebook when he first received the news. “[I] want to express my gratitude to each and every Academician who honored me with their vote,” he added. “The challenges ahead are big but I can’t wait to start working towards making the humanistic message of Music and the Arts, through education, the main pillar for a world with more understanding, more communication, more openness, for a better future!”
The ceremony and Kavakos’ performance of Bach can be viewed below.
Born in 1967 in Athens, Greece, into a musical family, Kavakos began learning the violin at age six from his father who was then a violinist in the State Orchestra of Athens. A graduate of the Hellenic Conservatory and Indiana University Bloomington, Leonidas studied with Stelios Kafantaris and Josef Gingold.
He has appeared with countless major orchestras worldwide as a violinist and conductor and participated in significant international festivals, such as Lucerne, Edinburgh, Salzburg, London’s PROMS, Hollywood Bowl, and Tanglewood.
Dedicated to music education, Kavakos has also been curating the annual Violin and Chamber Music Seminar in Athens for the past nine years, which has attracted violinists and ensembles internationally. His many accolades include the Gold Medal of the Greek Parliament, which he received earlier this year.