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Kennedy, Nigel (28th December 1956-Present)

He is a violinist, violist and composer born Nigel Paul Kennedy in Brighton, Sussex, England who is the son of  cellist John Kennedy and whose Australian grandparents were Lauri Kennedy who was principal cellist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the pianist Dorothy Kennedy.

He was deemed a child prodigy and studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music from the time he was 6 years old.  Later he went to  New York to study at Juiilliard School.  When he was 16 years old Stephane Grappelli invited him to appear at Carnegie Hall.

Moving forward to 1984 he debuted in the recording studio with Elgar’s Violin Concerto.  Performing on the viola he performed on William Walton’s Violin Concerto/Viola Concerto with Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1987.  2 years later his release of the chart-topping The Four Seasons by Vivaldi with the English Chamber Orchestra is deemed to be one of the best-selling classical recordings ever.

He wrote the autobiography Always Playing, which was published in 1991 and although he continued to record he didn’t perform publicly until the mid 1990s.  Also in 1991 he was awarded an honorary doctorate y the University of Bath.  Outside of classical music he recorded a cover for Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix and was a musician on Robert Plant’s “Calling to You” from Fate of Nations, both in 1993.

In 1997 he was honoured y the BRIT Awards for his Outstanding Contribution to Music and 4 years later in 2001 he won the Male Artist of the Year Award.

The album The Kennedy Experience came out in 1999 and in 2000 he released Riders on the Storm: The Doors Concerto. Also in 2000 he performed the violin solo on “Baba O’Riley” with The Who at the Royal Albert Hall.

From 2002 to 2005 he was the visiting artistic director for Poland’s Krakow Philharmonic and also in 2002 he was given the position of artistic director with the Polish Chamber Orchestra.

Also in the early to mid 2000s he appeared on Kate Bush’s track  “Experiment IV” and on two songs by Sarah Brightman in her 2003 album Harem.  He played Klezmer music with the Polish band Kroke and in 2005 he released his first jazz album.

When 2008 came around he played Elgar’s Violin Concerto  at the Proms after 21 years and later performed with the Nigel Kennedy Quintet.  In 2010 he founded the Orchestra of Life who have toured several European cities and festivals.  He is also an accomplished composer.

As you can imagine, the albums he has appeared on with others, as well as his own, are numerous but a selection of them include his own The Early Years 1984-1989, Blue Note Sessions, East Meets East, The Four Elements, Kennedy Meets Gershwin, Kennedy Plays Bach, Polish Spirit, Recital, Relax, Shhh! A Very Nice Album, Vivaldi: The Four Seasons and Vivaldi II along with Bach: Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe BWV 1060 by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, By Request by Boyzone, The Red Shoes, Selection from ‘The Other Sides’ and The Sensual World by Kate Bush, Sutras by Donovan, Press to Play by Paul McCartney, The 100 Greatest Titles by Glenn Miller, You Will by Anne Murray, Nine Lives by Robert Plant, History and Union Cafe by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Simon Rattle & His Soloists: The CBSO Years by Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Live N Sleazy by The Stranglers, Natural Order: 1982-1991 by Talk Talk and Wonderland by Judie Tzuke along with literally hundreds of others.

Known for being a fan of Aston Villa F.C. he has even had the orchestra dress in their team shirts in Poland.

Married twice he lives in Poland and England and his second wife is the artistic director and actress Agnieszka Chowniec.  He has a son Sark Yves Amadeus.