Arts Concert Music Preview Singapore

Preview: SSO Gala – Kavakos Plays Korngold


The Greek virtuoso violinist Leonidas Kavakos joins the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor-designate, Hans Graf, on 17th January for an SSO Gala featuring Korngold’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. The concert marks the first time Hans Graf will conduct the orchestra since being named the SSO’s Chief Conductor, a role he takes up at the beginning of the 20/21 season.

Korngold wrote his Violin Concerto in 1945. The composer had made his name as a film composer – writing the scores for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk and The Adventures of Robin Hood – and the Violin Concerto was one of his first works for the concert hall. It’s gone on to become perhaps his best-loved piece.

For this SSO Gala, Korngold is bookended by Dvořák’s ever-popular Scherzo Capriccioso and Tchaikovsky’s monumental “Pathétique” Symphony. The “Pathétique” was the final symphony Tchaikovsky composed – he conducted the premiere just days before he died in 1893. The symphony is something of a calling-card for the SSO: the orchestra has performed the work 15 times in its history.

Austrian conductor Hans Graf was announced as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s new Chief Conductor in July this year. He’s an internationally renowned conductor, having served as Music Director at the Houston Symphony, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and the Basque National Orchestra.

When the role was announced, Maestro Graf said: “When I first came to Singapore, I found an orchestra of international level. Now I am pleased and honoured to be invited to work with them in the future: I feel in them the joy of making music which fuels their assiduous effort to reach ever higher levels, and it will be my goal to lead and go forward with them in this noble passion.”

Leonidas Kavakos is recognised across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, acclaimed for his matchless technique, his captivating artistry and his superb musicianship as well as for the integrity of his playing. He works with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and is a frequent recitalist in the world’s premier recital halls and festivals.

SSO Gala: Kavakos Plays Korngold plays on 17th January 2020 at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC

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