Nigel Kennedy is, without a doubt, one of the most dazzling eccentrics of the classical music scene and is at the same time acknowledged as one of the world’s leading violin virtuosos. At the age of seven Kennedy 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. From the age of 16, he studied under celebrated teacher Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He was also repeatedly invited to appear with leading jazz violoinist Stéphane Grappelli, who introduced him to jazz improvisation.
Kennedy’s international career took off with his performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in London’s Royal Festival Hall in 1977 with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti. Since then, he has been a household name and one of the most sought-after violinists of our time. Three years later, in 1980, he made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, followed by regular appearances with both the Berliner Philharmoniker and many of the world’s top orchestras and directors.
His legendary version of Vivaldi’s »Four Seasons« was released in 1990, which at over 5 million copies is the best-selling classical album ever. Kennedy’s first highly acclaimed recording of Elgar’s Violin Concerto was named »Record of the Year« by »Gramophone Magazine« in 1985. His second Vivaldi album with the Berliner Philharmoniker won an ECHO Klassik in the category »best rendering of 18th century music« and the highest Austrian award for classical music, the Amadeus Award. Kennedy’s recordings of the concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Walton have all been best-sellers, likewise his chamber music recordings and recital CDs. As a musician who is always testing his limits, Kennedy returned to his artistic roots and again took on Vivaldi’s »Four Seasons« a good quarter of a century after the first recording. The result of this project was the album »The New Four Seasons« released on the Sony Classical label in 2015. In 2016, the CD »My World« was released by Neue Meister / edel and in 2018 Warner Classics brought out the CD »Kennedy meets Gershwin«.