Photo: The moment my string went snap

Photo: The moment my string went snap


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2013

Last week, Leonidas Kavakos suffered an extraordinary misfortune in Helsinki when the E string on his violin came loose just as he started a Mozart concerto. Listen here.

Last night, on home turf in Athens, Leonidas pitched into the Brahms concerto only for a string to break. What did he do? Over to our man on the spot, Alexandros Rigas:

At first, he changed his violin with the violin of the concertmaster #2 and a female violinist took Kavakos violin backstage. Kavakos tried the new violin for two notes and after a short discussion with the conductor, they went backstage. They returned fuve minutes later with the string fixed and they started from the beginning. Overall, Kavakos was far more loose and more free than in his recent recording (with Chailly). He offered two encores: Ysaye’s Sonata no 4 – Allemanda and the  Andante from Bach’s Sonata no 2 in A minor.

Cool, or what?

UPDATE: And here’s an exclusive picture of the moment:

kavakos string


ASSOCIATION OF THE FRIENDS OF MUSIC ATHENS CONCERT HALL HALL: Christos Lambrakis 11/25/13. 60 Years of Association of the Friends of Music. Festive Concert. Athens State Orchestra. Musical direction by Vassilis Christopoulos. Leonidas Kavakos violin. HARIS AKRIVIADIS The photographs are protected by law.


  • Leonidas performed for free last night with the Athens State Orchestra under Christopoulos, for the 60th anniversary of the “Friends of Music” Society, the founder body of the Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall, and major supporter of Mr Kavakos from his first steps into his international career.

  • maria says:

    He wasn´t in Helsinki last week.

  • derwanderer says:

    I was in the Athens concert hall on Nov. 25th, when it happened, and the description above is very accurate. Leonidas was playing his newest Strad, the “Abergavenny”, with a Peccatte bow. After the string replacement things went out smoothly and, although one would have imagined that he would be more cautious, he took it with even more power than in the first attempt. It was, by any standrads, a most exciting performance, as he let his hair down (pun not intended) and offered an impassioned, big sound and extremely well thought version. Kavakos is never a self-serving artist, he can even be called, occasionaly, cerebral and cold (he had disappointed me, last year, in Athens, in the Beethoven Sonatas and even more two years ago, in an anaemic and unsentimental Tchaikovksi cto, with Mariinski/Gergiev). On Monday he was definately much, much more to my taste, almost miraculous in his precision, structural perfection and sheer virtuosity. And what a sound, oh boy! The two encores were also dazzling, almost too dense to take. The applause would had gone on for ever, although it was almost midnight when he and the orchestra finally retired (this was a gala event and the concerto was the last piece in the programm).