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The Soloist: NSO Changes Horses for Asia

It’s an orchestra administrator’s nightmare: losing your soloist only days before a big international tour. And it just happened to the National Symphony Orchestra. Leonidas Kavakos, the Greek violinist who was to accompany the tour, developed an abscess on his back that required operation and was ordered by his doctor to cancel all his engagements for six weeks, leaving the orchestra without a soloist for the China and Korea tour that begins this Saturday.

The NSO has been in this position before. During the orchestra’s last tour of Europe in 2002, Josh Bell’s father died and the soloist understandably flew home for a few days. The fine soloist Nikolaj Znaider replaced Bell for the orchestra’s Vienna concert.

So when Kavakos announced his cancellation this week, the NSO knew just what to do. They engaged Znaider. Nikolaj Znaider will perform the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos in Macau, Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Seoul and Goyang. Fortunately the NSO is doing two warhorse concertos that are in the arsenal of most solo violinists. (And fortunately Znaider is an excellent violinst; this switch is not necessarily bad news.)

By Anne Midgette  |  June 3, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  news  
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