Arts Campus News

Internationally renowned violinist, pianist open US tour in Athens

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos, left, and pianist Yuja Wang open their U.S. tour on Nov. 1 at the Performing Arts Center. (Submitted photos)

Two of classical music’s biggest names come to Hodgson Concert Hall on Nov. 1 for the start of the UGA Presents Masterworks Series.

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang are internationally celebrated artists beginning a U.S. tour in Athens. “Kavakos ranks among the greatest instrumentalists of our time,” according to the Seattle Times. The San Francisco Chronicle called Wang “quite simply the most dazzlingly, uncannily gifted pianist in the concert world today.” They have five Grammy nominations between them.

“These are two of the most highly sought-after classical music artists in the world,” said Jeffrey Martin, UGA Performing Arts Center director. “I have been patiently waiting (and working) for quite a long time for our schedule to align with theirs, and I am absolutely thrilled to welcome them both to Hodgson Concert Hall at last.”

Their program includes two elegant sonatas by J.S. Bach, demanding and intense music by Dmitri Shostakovich, and a lyrical work by Ferruccio Busoni. After their Athens concert and one in Atlanta, the two venture to an almost sold-out date in New York’s Carnegie Hall and on to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles for another near-capacity performance.

What makes these two artists special? Of a Kavakos/Wang recital, the San Diego Union-Tribune said, “Flawless instrumental technique always impresses. Kavakos had outstanding command of his instrument, a 1724 Stradivarius. He popped off stratospheric notes from nowhere, perfectly in tune and singing expressively. Jumping back and forth between highest and lowest strings? No problem! Lightning fast runs? Here you go! Extreme changes in tone, flickering back and forth? Piece o’ cake! And no matter what the technical demands, he could always produce a passionate sound that hit you square in the heart and radiated out through your bones.”

Wang, a native of Beijing, is simply one of the most prominent pianists in any genre. The New York Times said Wang, “a prodigious virtuoso who brings charisma and a flair for fashion to the stage as well, is best known for elegant, technically scintillating performances of Romantic repertory and 20th-century works.” Like Kavakos, she also appears with orchestras worldwide.

For more information about Leonidas Kavakos, visit leonidaskavakos.com.

For more information about Yuja Wang, visit yujawang.com.

David Fung, UGA associate professor and celebrated concert pianist, will give a free pre-performance talk in Ramsey Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m.

For a complete list of UGA Presents performances, visit https://pac.uga.edu/organizer/uga-presents.

Three ways to order

  1. Purchase tickets online at pac.uga.edu.
  2. Call the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 706-542-4400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  3. Visit the UGA Performing Arts Center box office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (five-minute parking is available in the drop off circle at the Performing Arts Center for purchasing or picking up tickets.)

COVID protocols

For information about the Performing Arts Center’s COVID-19 protocols, visit pac.uga.edu/safety-first. Flexible ticketing will be in place for all performances occurring through December 2021. Patrons may exchange tickets for another performance (including those in spring 2022) or receive a full refund until noon on the day of the performance, if occurring on a weekday, or by Friday at 5 p.m. if occurring on a weekend.