Instrumentalist - Violin
Acclaim
 
Two premier musicians show premier form

“Nielsen’s 1923 piece for solo violin [Prelude and Theme] convincingly showed Kavafian’s virtuoso as well as artistic credentials. The piece takes an original theme through eight attractive variations before landing where it began.... Kavafian and [Peter] Serkin brought controlled fires to the romanticism of Schumann’s Sonata No. 2, Opus 121.

“Kavafian and Serkin brought controlled fires to the romanticism of Schumann’s Sonata No. 2, Opus 121.”

Andrew L. Pincus, Berkshire Eagle
A Card Game at Lunchtime
“Mr. Laredo, the violinist Susie Park and the violist Ida Kavafian played the opening Cavatina with such sweetness that the scruffy earthiness with which they tore into the following Capriccio came as a surprise.”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
Tried and still brilliant: Mary Nessinger sings "Pierrot Lunaire"
"Before intermission, Swann, Kavafian and Sherry's reading of Maurice Ravel's 1914 Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello was similarly superb. The music is vast both stylistically and sonically, embracing Ravel's influences, his passion for music of the distant past and his enthusiasm for Asian forms as well as encompassing virtually the entire range of all three instruments. Swann was masterful in explosive passages with fast notes strewn all over, and Kavafian and Sherry were exemplars of keen ensemble. Their tone was gorgeous and their intonation sterling, which was crucial to bring out the music's myriad fine details."
James McQuillen, Oregon ArtsWatch
Chamber Music Northwest review: Sextet proves Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' still surreally unsettling
"The biggest work of the evening was Arnold Schoenberg's hair-raising ‘Pierrot Lunaire,' the semi-spoken, semi-sung and all-surreal 1912 melodrama on poems by the Belgian dramatist Albert Giraud. In a stellar performance, soprano Mary Nessinger and five colleagues -- Jeffrey Swann (piano), Ida Kavafian (violin/viola), Fred Sherry (cello), David Shifrin (clarinets) and Tara Helen O'Connor (flute/piccolo) -- demonstrated that even after a century, the piece has not lost its capacity to unsettle."
James McQuillen, The Oregonian
Baroque Collection by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
"Heinrich von Biber was the most brilliant violinist of his time, and Ida Kavafian took on the wrenching Crucifixion from the Mystery Sonatas he composed. The violin is strung for different effects. The technical difficulty and intensity of this sonata reflects the composer's wish to display his own technical wizardry. The sonata begins with the hammering of the nails into the cross and continues through a wild, passionate resurrection performed with indescribable intensity by Kavafian. She has been performing with the CMS for decades, but her consummate skill and availability in-the-now bring her music making directly to the heart. Tough stuff to awaken the soul too."
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts
Chamber Music Northwest review: Gets off to thunderous start
"Three of the stalwarts -- violinists Ani and Ida Kavafian and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott -- served as soloists, and their many years of playing together were evident both in their attentive dialogues and in a sort of friendly competition in which they playfully bounced off each other while ramping up the intensity .... Ani Kavafian's slashing, biting bow strokes and McDermott's crashing chords and rapid-fire runs gave a feeling of tense, brittle brilliance."
James McQuillen, Oregonian
The Kavafian sisters play nice

"The older Ani (by three years) and Ida have been playing duets at least since 1983, when they performed together in Carnegie Hall, and less formally years before that. As you might expect, they are remarkably attuned to each other. If chamber music is a conversation, the Kavafian sisters offered a discussion among equals. Neither would allow themselves a secondary role, yet each gave the other space to step forward when the music demanded. While they've undoubtedly played this piece dozens, if not hundreds, of times, they kept it fresh, even surprising, as at the end of the first movement where their musical chat (and the tempo) took an unexpected turn as they approached the final cadence."

James Chute, Sign On San Diego
When Youthful Ambition Was Restrained by Prudence
"The violinists Ida Kavafian and her sister, Ani; the violist Paul Neubauer; and the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt also offered intensely committed performances."
Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
Classical CD Roundup Includes Artists With New Orleans Links
"Naxos also scored by releasing Michael Daugherty's concerto, 'Fire and Blood,' with violinist Ida Kavafian and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It confirmed my memory, for one thing. Kavafian had played the piece with the LPO in 2008: a driving composition that presents a banquet of orchestral colors and a powerful springboard for a gifted soloist."
Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Michael Daugherty on Naxos
"Ida Kavafian draws every ounce of passion and fire (and blood) out of the music and brings it into the sonic world."
Jay Batzner, Sequenza 21
Rumi Symphony Project
"The cellist Matt Haimovitz, the violinist Ida Kavafian and the double bassist Timothy Cobb made potent contributions in later sections."
Steve Smith, New York Times
A few new recordings
"Violinist Ida Kavafian plays this music with muscle aplenty and the Detroit Symphony under conductor Neeme Jarvi is nothing short of spectacular."
Craig M. Zeichner, Some Modest Proposals
Autumn Treats
"The other CD (8.559372) offers MotorCity Triptych, and Fire and Blood for Violin and Orchestra, inspired by Diego Rivera's monumental fresco of Detroit. If the auto industry had half the energy of Daugherty's depiction of it here, the government would not now be running it. The piece can be enjoyed simply as a terrific violin concerto without any AAA associations. The MotorCity Triptych is a fun evocation of Detroit, from Motown to cars, to Rosa Parks Boulevard. The only puzzle about this rambunctious CD is that it was recorded in 2003. Why the wait? Neeme Jarvi, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and violinist Ida Kavafian convey this music's excitement with flair and complete conviction, and are provided with spectacular sound."
Robert R. Reilly, InsideCatholic.com
"Ida Kavafian puts plenty of heart into her playing, really digging into the tunes while making light of the technical difficulties." Read More...
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
"Played with striking authority by Detroit-bred soloist Ida Kavafian and a vibrantly alive orchestra under Jarvi's baton, the 28-minute, three-movement piece translates Rivera's dynamic depiction of the River Rouge assembly line and heroic laborers into music that pulsates with muscle, percussive commotion, sweeping energy, bright colors and mournful shadow." Read More...
Mark Stryker,, California Chornicle
LPO reigned supreme during exciting classical season
"Other highlights from the LPO season included the blazing violin work of violinist Ida Kavafian, who performed a 2003 concerto by Michael Dougherty ..."
Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times-Picayune
"The first half ended with another discovery, Ernst von Dohnanyi's Serenade in C for string trio. Laredo, Robinson and Kavafian took nothing for granted, playing with flair and wonderfully coloring each of its five movements. In the end, it was Kavafian's rich viola tone and communicative style that made the performance memorable." Read More...
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Great singers make the connection between words and music to create a narrative whole. That's a harder job for instrumentalists, but violin virtuoso Ida Kavafian did just that on Thursday with her blazing, powerful reading of a 2003 concerto by Michael Dougherty." Read More...
Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times-Picayune
"It may not have generated pop-culture buzz the way the reunion of the Police did last year. But Tashi, the contemporary-music quartet, which during the mid-1970s was classical music's answer to a cutting-edge rock band, played Town Hall on Sunday afternoon." Read More...
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
"The much-admired but long-defunct ensemble known as Tashi recently answered the trumpet call of the Messiaen centenary by reviving itself for a handful of concerts, including a brilliant appearance on Friday night before a packed audience at Harvard's Paine Hall." Read More...
Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe
"All three artists gave superb efforts, but I was struck especially by the warmth and expressivity of Ms. Kavafian. Of course, I have been enjoying her work since Tashi in the mid-1970s, but it has been a while since I had experienced such meaningful and affecting sounds from any fiddler." Read More...
Fred Kirshnit, New York Sun
"The very fine Ida Kavafian took the part of the fiddler who loses her soul to the devil. Kavafian also joined Ballester and the exceptional marimba player Makoto Nakura for Kevin Puts' And Legions Will Rise, which Nakura commissioned for Kavafian's Angel Fire Festival in 2006. It proved this concert's heart, displaying momentum and melody."
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Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Kavafian, a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, gave an assured, spot on reading. None of the somersaulting rattled her -- she remained in poised command, made her part rock solid, throughout." Read More...
Timothy Mangan, Orange County Register
"Tashi's breakup and reunion is just as fascinating. Serkin, known around the world as an unusually enterprising pianist, met Sherry in 1968. They found themselves drawn to one piece: Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," a mystical work written for the composer and three fellow prisoners in a Nazi war camp. Soon after, Richard Stoltzman, a clarinetist and friend of Serkin's from Vermont's noted Marlboro Festival, joined the duo, as did Ida Kavafian, a 20-year-old Juilliard student."
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David Stabler, The Oregonian
"The two played with impeccable intonation in the many passages in thirds and sixths, and their sense of phrasing was equally unified. The seamless way that they passed ideas back and forth was a pleasure to hear."
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Scott Warfield, Orlando Sentinel
"One takes no risk in declaring Kavafian a major violinist."
Los Angeles Times
"Kavafian is a marvel of assurance as well as variety ... there seems to be nothing she cannot do with skill."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Make no mistake, Miss Kavafian can play the pegs off her instrument."
New York Post
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