Violinist, born 28 December 1956 in Brighton, England.
Violinist; he holds many awards, including the British award "for contribution to the development of British music" and the Artist of the Year title, the French Gold Award and the Swiss Montreux Rose.
Nigel Kennedy was born into a family of musical tradition, his mother being a piano teacher and his father a cellist in Sir Thomas Beecham's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of six Kennedy was introduced to Yehudi Menuhin and admitted to his musical talent school, the Menuhin School. When he was fourteen he came to know the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and played an improvized concert with him. In appreciation of Kennedy's talent, Grappelli suggested they played together in Soho clubs. Meanwhile Kennedy continued to hone his skills as a student of Dorothy DeLay's at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Kennedy's international career took off with his performance of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Violin Concerto in E minor with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti at the London Royal Festival Hall in 1977. Three years later he made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and in 1987 appeared for the first time with the New York Philharmonic.
Since then Kennedy's tours have taken him over the world, his destinations including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Far East, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. He has played with the world's best orchestras and directors and has taken part in top-ranking festivals in Europe and the US.
Since the very beginning of his artistic career Kennedy has recorded for EMI, and he can boast a vast and award-winning discography. His recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto was received enthusiastically, was named the Record of the Year 1985 by "Gramophone" and was given the Best Classical Album Award. His version of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons which was recorded in 1989 with the English Chamber Orchestra remained top of the UK classical charts for six months, sold over two million copies and earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the then best-selling classical work ever. The album Vivaldi II - Nigel Kennedy & Berliner Philharmoniker won Echo, the German music award, for the best rendering of 18th century music and the highest Austrian award in the classical music category, the Amadeus Award, for the best instrumental recording of 2005. The CD Polish Spirit, in turn, was awarded the Polish statuette Fryderyk in 2008 for the best Symphonic and Concertizing Music Album of the Year.
Nigel Kennedy's repertoire includes concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, Béla Bartók, Ludwig van Beethoven, Alban Berg, Johannes Brahms, Max Bruch, Edward Elgar, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jean Sibelius, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Antonio Vivaldi, chamber music by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel as well as music by Jimmy Hendrix, Duke Ellington and The Doors. He performs in the biggest concert halls as well as in jazz clubs, where he usually plays with the jazzmen Piotr Wyleżoł (piano), Adam Kowalewski (bass), Paweł Dobrowolski (drums) and Tomasz Grzegorski (saxophone).
Since 2001 Kennedy has worked with the Krakow Philharmonic, where he was the visiting artistic director in 2002-2005. In 2002 he was appointed artistic director of the Polish Chamber Orchestra.
Kennedy holds many awards, including the British award "for contribution to the development of British music" and the Artist of the Year title, the French Gold Award and the Swiss Montreux Rose.
The violins he plays are a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù and a Stradivarius, both presented to him by Dorothy Jeffries.
- Nigel Kennedy Plays Jazz (1984)
- Salut d'Amour & other Elgar Favourites (1984)
- Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, op. 61 (1984)
- Tschaikovsky: Violin Concerto / Chausson Poème for Violin and Orchestra (1986)
- Bartók: Sonata for Solo Violin / Ellington: Mainly Black (1986)
- Walton Viola Concerto / Violin Concerto (1987)
- Let Loose (1987)
- Mendelssohn and Bruch Violin Concertos & Schubert: Rondo (1988)
- Sibelius - Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 5 (1988)
- Vivaldi - The Four Seasons (1989)
- Brahms - Violin Concerto (1991)
- Just Listen: Sibelius: Violinkonzert - Tchaikovsky: Violinkonzert (1992)
- Beethoven - Violin Concerto (1992)
- Tschaikovsky: Violin Concerto & Varriations On A Rococo Theme (1993)
- Kafka (1996)
- Elgar - Violin Concerto / Williams - The Lark Ascending (1997)
- Kreisler (1998)
- The Kennedy Experince (1999)
- Classic Kennedy (1999)
- Duos For Violin & Cello - Kennedy / Harrell (2000)
- The Doors Concerto (2000)
- Kennedy plays Bach (2000)
- Nigel Kennedy - Greatest hits (2002)
- East meets East (2003)
- Vivaldi (2003)
- Vivaldi II (2004)
- Legend: Beethoven and Bruch (2005)
- Inner Thoughts (2006)
- Bluenote Sessions - Nigel Kennedy (2006)
- Polish Spirit - Nigel Kennedy (2007)
- Beethoven Violin Concerto, Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 - Nigel Kennedy (2008)
- A Very Nice Album - Nigel Kennedy (2008)
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, June 2008.