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Beethoven for Three

Emanuel Ax – Leonidas Kavakos – Yo-Yo Ma with special guest Antoine Tamestit

Sunday • Aug 25, 2024 • 3:00pm

A Benefit Concert for Spa Little Theater


Beethoven For Three features Emanuel Ax (piano), Leonidas Kavakos (violin), and Yo-Yo Ma (cello) in Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 6. Joined by special guest, Antoine Tamestit (viola), the group will then perform the monumental “Eroica” Symphony No. 3 reimagined for four players, in an intimate arrangement that maintains the power and immediacy of Beethoven’s orchestral work.

The trio’s previous tours and recordings on Sony Classics have been met with rave reviews around the world. Their most recent iteration of the project received a GRAMMY® nomination for best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble performance in 2024. 

Proceeds from the performance will go toward establishing a programming fund for the Spa Little Theater, SPAC’s year-round performance home. Tickets are $500, of which $150 is a tax-deductible donation.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

 Piano Trio No. 6 in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2 
 Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica” 

arranged for piano quartet 


Emanuel Ax, Piano

Leonidas Kavakos, Violin

Yo-Yo Ma, Cello

Antoine Tamestit, Viola

Emanuel Ax

Born to Polish parents in what is today Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed by the Avery Fisher Prize. The 2023/24 season will focus on the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s piano concerto, commissioned for him by the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen with subsequent performances in Stockhom and New York. He continues the ‘Beethoven For 3’ tour with Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma. In recital Mr. Ax can be heard throughout North America, culminating at Carnegie Hall in April. A European tour will include concerts in Holland, Italy, Germany, France and the Czech Republic. Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987 and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched a multi-year project to record all the Beethoven Trios and Symphonies arranged for trio of which the first three discs have been released. He has received GRAMMY® Awards for his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas and for recordings with Yo-Yo Ma. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust. In 2013, Mr. Ax received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year. Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Columbia University.

Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos is recognized across the world as a violinist and artist of rare quality, acclaimed for his matchless technique, his captivating artistry and his superb musicianship, and the integrity of his playing. He works regularly with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and plays as recitalist in the world’s premier halls and festivals. In the 23/24 season, Kavakos is honored as guest soloist at Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti, as well as soloist at the CSO’s own Symphony Ball during its opening week. He will join the orchestra again for Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in November. Other US engagements include performances with the Boston Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, and a series of recitals with his regular partners Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. Kavakos will perform a number of concerts throughout Europe including with the Wiener Symphoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Berlin, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony; and will play-conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He will also conduct the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Kavakos is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classics. Recent releases include Bach: Sei Solo and the re-release of his 2007 recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas with Enrico Pace, for which he was named Echo Klassik Instrumentalist of the year. In 2022 Kavakos released Beethoven for Three: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5 arranged for trio, with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma.The trio has released two additional Beethoven recordings in the series with further recordings planned for upcoming seasons. Born and brought up in a musical family in Athens, Kavakos curates an annual violin and chamber music masterclass in Athens, which attracts violinists and ensembles from all over the world. He plays the ‘Willemotte’ Stradivarius violin of 1734.

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works for cello, bringing communities together to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity. Most recently, Yo-Yo began Our Common Nature, a cultural journey to celebrate the ways that nature can reunite us in pursuit of a shared future. Our Common Nature follows the Bach Project, a 36-community, six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s cello suites paired with local cultural programming. Both endeavors reflect Yo-Yo’s lifelong commitment to stretching the boundaries of genre and tradition to understand how music helps us to imagine and build a stronger society. Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, where he began studying the cello with his father at age four. When he was seven, he moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies before pursuing a liberal arts education. Yo-Yo has recorded more than 120 albums, is the winner of 19 Grammy Awards, and has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration. He has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Birgit Nilsson Prize. He has been a UN Messenger of Peace since 2006, and was recognized as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Antoine Tamestit

Violist Antoine Tamestit is internationally recognized as a leading soloist, recitalist and chamber musician beloved for his unsurpassed technique and the much-vaunted beauty of his richly coloured tone. His broad repertoire ranges from Baroque to the present, and his strong commitment to contemporary music is reflected in numerous premieres of new works. In 2024 season Antoine continues to engage on a truly international level, from European tour with Staatskapelle Dresden to debuts with Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, artist-in-residence at the South Korean Tongyeong International Music Festival as well as premiere of Joe Hisaishi’s Viola Saga in Asia.In recent seasons, Antoine has performed with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra among many others. He performs regularly with major conductors including Teodor Currentzis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Klaus Mäkelä, Sir Antonio Pappano, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, Francois-Xavier Roth, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Christian Thielemann, and Jaap van Zweden.

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