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Nigel kennedy
Nigel kennedy
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YOU wouldn’t believe the random items and emails that arrive on the desk of an entertainment editor. In Spotlight on... I’ll highlight the ones that might otherwise slip under the radar, have some cult value or simply just be worth mentioning again. This week ...



THE Scruffy Maestro - that’s one way of describing violinist Nigel Kennedy, the man who made classical music accessible to a generation of football fans back in the 80s.

Next week, following the success of his performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in 2010 - including a sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall - Kennedy brings his exhilarating and unique take on Vivaldi’s masterpiece to the Capital, along with his own brand new composition, The Four Elements.

The concert, at the Usher Hall next Thursday, marks the world premiere of The Four Elements, which was composed for his ‘band’, the Orchestra of Life.

Inspired by the elements of earth, water, air and fire, the work takes the listener on ‘a journey of exhilaration, contemplation and celebration.’

“I couldn’t be happier to be bringing my new orchestra back to the UK with the Four Seasons and my new work - they are brilliant young players at the top of their form,” says the musician who, for more than 25 years, has been acknowledged as one of the world’s leading violin virtuosos.

He is also one of the most important violinists Britain has ever produced, his impeccable technique, unique talent and mass appeal bringing fresh perspectives to both classical and contemporary repertoire and making him the best-selling classical violinist of all time in the process.

To this day, however, Kennedy refuses to play by any one set of rules and over the past decade, as well as recording Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven Mlynarski and Karlowicz, he has laid his personal instrumental stamp on the songs of everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Kate Bush.

He has also performed the violin intro to Baba O’Riley on stage with the Who, explored traditional klezmer music with the Polish band Kroke, and dug deep into the roots of modern jazz on the Blue Note Sessions, an album he recorded in NYC in 2006 with legends Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.

Following his earlier excursion into the self-penned tracks of the Nigel Kennedy Quintet’s Very Nice Album, Kennedy’s latest album, Shhh!, cements the maverick status of one of Britain’s most unpredictable musicians.

“I am a natural improviser. I can’t just always stand up and follow a score,” explains Kennedy, who has been thrilling audiences since joining jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli on stage at the Carnegie Hall at the age of 16.

Today, the 55-year-old, divides his time between homes in London and Krakow, where he lives with his Polish-born wife, Agnieszka.

“I’m enjoying my music much more than ever as I’m playing exactly what I want - it’s become a deeper experience and enjoyment for me, savouring the moment more, not thinking about the future or the past but thinking about now,” he says, ahead of next week’s concert, which you could win tickets to attend.

The Guide has teamed up with Live Nation to give you the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Nigel Kennedy perform at the Usher Hall next week. To enter the draw to win email your name, age and address to with NIGEL in the subject line by midnight Sunday. Usual Johnston Press rules apply. Editor’s decision is final.

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, January 12, 7.30pm, £36-£45, 0131-228 1155