Controversial violinist Nigel Kennedy was born in Brighton, England, on 28 December 1956, into a family of musicians. His father was cellist John Kennedy who played in the Liverpool Philharmonic and was principal cellist of Thomas Beecham's RPO. His mother was the English pianist Scylla Stoner.
Nigel Kennedy studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School from the age of seven, and later at Juilliard with Dorothy DeLay. At sixteen, he appeared with Stéphane Grappelli at Carnegie Hall, and although training as a classical musician, has always kept a keen interest in other genres, and often includes improvisatory elements in his recordings.
In 1984 he recorded Elgar's Violin Concerto for EMI and also Nigel Kennedy Plays Jazz for Chandos. Five years later his Vivaldi Four Seasons recording with the English Chamber Orchestra became one of the best-selling classical recordings ever.
His outspoken socialism has led him to openly criticise London orchestras, the Classical Brit Awards, Israel's West Bank policies and the BBC, and his unusual behaviour and dress sense have, in turn, attracted criticism from the musical establishment.
Ensemble. Incandescent Performance - Nigel Kennedy with the Royal Philharmonic and Andrew Litton, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Somewhat Lacklustre - Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, heard by Howard Smith. '... a tumultuous, dynamic conclusion.'
Ask Alice - The truth about bishops and priests, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. True Artistry - Howard Smith attends New Zealand's Music Fair of Japan 2009
CD Spotlight. Simply Dazzling - Piazzolla and Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', heard by Robert Hugill. '... I rather missed the sound of the bandoneon ...'
Ask Alice - On free plugs, guides on making music, good shows ... with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ask Alice - Sorting out the musical inbox on return from holiday, with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ask Alice - Advice to a soprano on not kicking the goldfish, from Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ask Alice - On 'Così', Nigel Kennedy and recovering the Ashes, with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh