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Leonidas Kavakos, conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, conductor and violin | © Marco Borggreve

Kavakos, Bach and Brahms

Thu May 11 — Fri May 12, 2023

Orchestra Hall

~2 hrs, including intermission

Audience members and Minnesota Orchestra musicians alike are eagerly awaiting this special concert when violinist Leonidas Kavakos returns not only as guest soloist, but also as conductor. As a violinist, Kavakos is known around the world for his crystal-clear tone and ardent musical integrity. He leads the ensemble while playing the solo part in Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1, a work that the composer himself likely performed in house concerts and at social gatherings. Then, stepping onto the podium, Kavakos guides the Orchestra through Brahms’ dramatic, grand, triumphant First Symphony.

The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio. Find your station or listen online.

A Few Things To Know

  1. Johannes Brahms felt extreme anxiety about composing symphonies in the wake of Beethoven’s incredible symphonic output. He struggled for more than two decades to complete Symphony No. 1. “I shall never write a symphony!” Brahms once told a friend. “You have no idea how it feels for someone like me always to hear such a giant as Beethoven marching along behind me!”
  2. Leonidas Kavakos recently performed the world premiere of a concerto written for him by composer Unsuk Chin. Chin had planned to write no more than one concerto for each instrument during her career, but after hearing Kavakos, she made an exception. Shards of Glass was premiered by the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle in January 2022.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time




  • BACH

    Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052R

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    The perpetually busy Bach often repurposed his music for various uses, and the D-minor Violin Concerto is among his works that exists in multiple forms; its score survived only a keyboard concerto, and musicologists have reconstructed a violin version believed to be the root work. It contains three movements, ordered in the traditional fast-slow-fast form; the outer movements showcase Baroque dynamism, framing an eloquent, pain-infused Adagio.


    Symphony No. 1

    1 min note

    One Minute Note

    Brahms’ First Symphony—sometimes called “Beethoven’s Tenth” for its kinship with that composer’s nine symphonies—has an anguished opening. But at its buoyant close, a brilliant horn call clears the way for a melody in which we recognize the influence of the “Ode to Joy.”


Minnesota Orchestra

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Accessibility Services

  • Armless & Bariatric Chairs
  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Large-Print Programs
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  • Service Animals
  • Wheelchair & Accessible Seating

Additional services are available upon request.

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