Violin and fiddle stuff

Nigel Kennedy is back and hes showing no signs of mellowing


Friday, November 12th, 2010

Still playing the rebel

Nigel Kennedy is back and hes showing no signs of mellowing. Nigel Kennedy returns for a gig at Londons Tower Festival as his seminal Vivaldi album gets a 20th anniversary re-release. He still has the haircut, the attitude, and hes still angry – about conductors, the price of CDs, Palestine, country music, Margaret Thatcher, and much more. Jessica Duchen met him, and then partied…

At 52, Kennedy still works hard, plays hard and never stops dreaming up new projects over the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, and Nigel Kennedy is giving a special performance with his jazz quintet to mark the conclusion of the World Athletics Championships. “Berlin – nummer eins!” the mohican-crested renegade fiddler shouts to the crowd from a stage opposite the landmark. He takes a spoof bow, flapping his hands while pony-galloping forward and back, telling the crowd that this is “Shakespearean”. “Oh, Nigel,” his manager sighs, “what are you doing?”Later, after his trademark greeting, “monster!”, we settle in his dressing-room tent, Kennedy nursing an outsize tumbler of neat vodka, to discuss what he really is doing. At 52, outwardly the bad boy of the violin hasnt changed much since his ever-controversial recording of Vivaldis The Four Seasons 20 years ago, when it got into The Guinness Book of Records as the highest-selling classical album ever and caused near-apoplexy in the classical world.The record industry is marking the anniversary with a special re-release, but Kennedy has long since moved on. He works hard, plays hard – the night before hed been partying until 9am – and never stops dreaming up new projects. Some have been more successful than others; we dont hear much today about the re-branding experiment in which he tried abandoning his first name. But now the classical sphere is looming larger in his activities than it has for a while; its perhaps telling that he has chosen a manager, Terri Robson, who worked with Pavarotti.He wouldnt perform classical concertos in London for years, citing the orchestras lack of adequate rehearsal time, but last year he played the Elgar Violin Concerto at the Proms in a concert that sold out within a day. And even his detractors had to admit that in terms of violin playing hes one of the best in the business.

via Still playing the rebel: Nigel Kennedy is back and hes showing no signs of mellowing – Features, Classical – The Independent.

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