Nigel Kennedy

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Nigel Kennedy (born 28 December 1956) is an English violinist and violist. He made his early career in the classical field, and he has performed and recorded most of the major violin concerti. He later included jazz, klezmer and other genres in his repertoire.



Musical lineage

Nigel Kennedy's grandfather was Lauri Kennedy, a British-born musician and principal cellist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra,[1] who played with Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein and others. His grandmother was Dorothy Kennedy, a pianist, who accompanied John McCormack and taught Enrico Caruso's children. Lauri and Dorothy settled in Australia, where their son, the cellist John Kennedy, was born. At the age of 24 John moved to England and joined the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, later becoming the principal cellist of Sir Thomas Beecham's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. While in England, John developed a relationship with an English pianist, Scylla Stoner, with whom he eventually toured in 1952 as part of the Llewellyn-Kennedy Piano Trio (with the violinist Ernest Llewellyn; Stoner was billed as "Scylla Kennedy" although she and John never married). However, John ultimately left Stoner and returned to Australia, unaware she was pregnant by him. John remained unaware of the existence of his son, Nigel Kennedy, until they met for the first time when Nigel was 11.[2] Nigel Kennedy has about 30 close relatives in Australia, whom he visits whenever he tours there.[3]

Early life

Nigel Kennedy was born in Brighton, East Sussex. A boy prodigy, as a 10-year-old he would pick out Fats Waller tunes on the piano after hearing his stepfather's jazz records.[4] He was a pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music, and later studied at the Juilliard School in New York with Dorothy DeLay.

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