Whatever became of… Nigel Kennedy?

Whatever became of… Nigel Kennedy?


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2015

Things have gone very quiet on the Kennedy front since he parted company with his manager last summer.

Kennedy, 58, went on to sign with Lang Lang’s US agency CAMI Music, but appears to have got lost in transition. He does not appear on their front page of favoured artists and has not regained his footing on the US circuit.

He has also fallen out, we hear, with members of his Polish band. His classical bridges have fallen, one by one.

(Which may be why things have gone so quiet.)

The news this morning is that he has set up a small Jimi Hendrix UK tour with a new, small band:  13 September Cambridge Corn Exchange; 14 September Oxford New Theatre; 16 September London Royal Festival Hall.

nigel kennedy bbc proms





  • Leonard Slatkin says:

    He will be appearing with the Detroit Symphony next season performing the Elgar Concerto.

  • charles g. clark-maxwell says:

    Kennedy had a very successful Australian tour last year.

    You shouldn’t go on about his downfall just yet !

  • charles g. clark-maxwell says:

    Nige has had his day in the sun. He was ‘Liberace for the Nineties’ according to John Drummond – but now looks a bit sad.

  • Marios Papadopoulos says:

    Nigel is still one of the most revered violinists around. His playing of the Beethoven Concerto with the Oxford Philomusica last year was sublime. He will be appearing with the same orchestra in Croydon, Nottingham and at the Barbican later this month and next year on a major UK tour performing the Elgar.

  • Oxford Philomusica says:

    Nigel Kennedy will be appearing with Oxford Philomusica for three concerts this May: Fairfield Halls, Croydon (22 May); Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham (23 May); Barbican, London (25 May). He’ll be playing Bach, Jimi Hendrix and some of his own compositions.

  • Hancock & Monks Music says:

    He’s the Closing Night Concert at the Hay Festival in a couple of weeks, together with a pre-concert interview. Will it be a bang or a whimper?

  • bratschegirl says:

    Mr Kennedy toured some years ago with a major US orchestra. According to those who were there, he went through an elaborate charade at each performance of pretending to take requests from the audience for an encore, and then proceeded to play the same movement of unaccompanied Bach every single time.

  • Alexander says:

    The decline of Nigel Kennedy’s career is news to me, as I have his forthcoming concert in Croydon in my diary. His performance of Bach and Fats Waller at the Proms in 2011 stands out as one of the finest performances I have heard in a concert-going career spanning some three decades.

  • Una says:

    I really don’t think any musician or singer needs this kind of thing in their lives about whether they’re in or out. As soon as people are successful, others try to drag them down. He does not have to do every single concert he is offered. He can choose now that he’s made his living – many can’t. He can choose also to give up, but why all this drama?

  • John says:

    Nigel was on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ programme this week. Great show!


  • Melissa says:

    Saw him perform at the Luna festival in Nyon (Switzerland) last autumn. He was incredible. Don’t write him off yet ….

  • Tommy Tucker says:

    Having recently been in Krakow, his posters are everywhere. He is one of the main acts with his Polish band in their June festival and later all over Poland. He is one of the best, and I say that after years of playing with most of the others too. Why the hatred?
    “June 26th, Friday: UK’s violinist Nigel Kennedy plays jazz with his ensemble and Bach’s music with Krakow’s Beethoven Academy Orchestra in ICE Krakow Congress Center, 17 Konopnickiej street at Monte Casino street, at 8 pm (admission 180 PLN).
    Krakow Opera Company produces its “Grand Pas” ballet show on the Wawel Royal Castle’s courtyard at 8:30 pm (admission 80 PLN).”

  • Pam says:

    Oh how I wish Mr. Kennedy would come back to the US. My heart pains for his exquisite unity with the violin. His level of play is unmatched. He is music itself and any other view of him is absurd AND ridiculous. I have never had love for a public image before but sadly it is here and so I suffer. All my love Mr. Kennedy. Pam