Today’s artist and I have something in common and it has nothing to do with musical abilities, of which I have none. No, we’re both fans of Aston Villa FC. I come from a family of Villa fans, and my father played for their youth squad, while Kennedy was born in Brighton. But maybe the link is the year of his birth, the last time my beloved club won the FA Cup. Whether they’ll ever win it again in my lifetime………….who knows?
Nigel Kennedy (1957 – ) is an English violinist and violist whose early career was primarily spent performing classical music. His grandparents and parents were all classically trained musicians so musical ability is obviously in his DNA.
Kennedy was a childhood prodigy who aged seven became a pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music and later studied at the Juilliard School in New York City. He made his recording debut in 1984 with Elgar’s Violin Concerto. His subsequent recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1989 sold over two million copies and earned a place as one of the all-time best classical recordings.
In other music genres, Kennedy recorded a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire for the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. The same year, he made an appearance on Robert Plant’s solo album Fate of Nations on the track “Calling to you”. In 1999, Sony Classical released The Kennedy Experience, which featured improvisational recordings based on Hendrix compositions.
In 2000, he recorded a violin-based orchestral version of Riders on the Storm: The Doors Concerto. In addition, Kennedy joined rock group The Who at the Royal Albert Hall and guested on several Kate Bush tracks and Sarah Brightman songs. He’s also explored Klezmer music with the Polish jazz band Kroke and in late 2005, Kennedy recorded his first jazz album .
Now based in Poland, in 2010 he was appointed artistic director of the Polish Chamber Orchestra and founded the Orchestra of Life, an ensemble of mainly Polish musicians. Meanwhile, he’s had an on-off relationship over the years with the Proms who have disapproved of his outspoken views on a number of topics. However, we can all agree, he plays a mean violin!
I’ve seen him perform a number of times including outdoors at the Water Tower in Mannheim, it has always been sublime.