Destiny elevated Nigel Kennedy into one of classical music’s true greats.
He was born into a musical family, nurtured by a musical community and propelled to international superstardom.
Kennedy remains the bestselling violinist of all time. He singled-handedly paved the way for a new generation of artists, who have enjoyed success both in the classical field and in the mainstream. His virtuoso technique, unique talent and mass appeal have brought fresh perspectives to both the classical and contemporary repertoire.
Pushing at the boundaries that might constrain others, he has continued to pioneer new sounds and new methods of performance.
Single-minded, determined and utterly unique, Kennedy explores repertoire which spans classical, jazz, klezmer, rock and much, much more.
His mother bought him a violin as a youngster, after having previously encouraged her son to learn the piano. Kennedy’s violin teacher had the foresight to make learning fun, asking for no more than five minutes practice and then rewarding the youngster with sweets.
Kennedy shone and at the age of seven was spotted by the great Yehudi Menuhin, who offered him a scholarship at the Yehudi Menuhin School and agreed to pay all of his fees. Kennedy excelled and went on to study at the Juilliard School, in New York City, with Dorothy DeLay.
His unconventional approach to performing, however, had already taken root. He railed against the needless conformity that was sought in other youngsters and on occasion would take off his jacket and tie while on stage, much to the delight of the audience.
“That gave me a direct connection with the people in the theatres,” he said. “They realised I was the same as them. It made the performances more exciting.”
Labelling Kennedy a mere maverick, however, is missing the point. He is one of the great virtuosos, a compelling talent whose strong work ethic and perfectionist tendencies constantly propel him to ever-greater heights. Starting each day with three hours practice, Kennedy continues to improve as his career moves on.