Nigel Kennedy ends 18-year American exile

He’s in Detroit this week.

He was meant to be playing the Elgar concerto with Leonard Slatkin but changed his mind a few weeks ago and will perform a work of his own, ‘Dedications’, its movements named after Jarek Smietana, Isaac Stern, Stephane Grappelli and Mark O’Connor.

The former wild-child British violinist, now 59, last played in the US in 1998. No reason is known for his long absence, but caprice may be a factor.

nigel kennedy bbc proms

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  • Maybe no-one booked him?

    And if he’s in the habit of cancelling concertos he’s booked to play, and replacing them with his own compositions, you can understand why. Phenomenally talented artist but he’s never fitted comfortably into the schedules and conventions of the classical music world, as he’d be the first to admit.

  • As per the Guardian review, ‘Dedications’ is for violin and 13 players. So it’s not like NK will be using the already billed orchestra and Slatkin for a different purpose. It’s a completely different show

  • THis is the revised program:

    Leonard Slatkin, conductor Nigel Kennedy, violin

    Fri., May 6 at 8 p.m. Sat., May 7 at 8 p.m.
    SCHUMANN Overture to Manfred
    W. SCHUMAN Symphony No. 3
    NIGEL KENNEDY Dedications
    “Jarek Smietana” “Isaac Stern” “Stephane Grappelli” “Mark O’Connor”

  • What’s that picture of? Is that Kennedy rocking Kol Nidrei with the “Williamsburg Bagel and Lox” Philharmonic of Brooklyn?
    Yeah boyeee!

  • Nigel’s pieces are dedications to four musicians who mean a great deal to him. We are doing them with an orchestra of about 30 musicians and our first rehearsal yesterday was wonderful. He had an injury to his left hand and the Elgar was simply not comfortable physically at this time. All of us are thrilled to have him back, no matter what he is playing.

    • Maestro Slatkin – I suspect his hand injury was from banging it into a wall as his beloved Aston Villa got themselves relegated.

      PS Your Rachmaninov CDs for Naxos are magnificent!

  • One thing is certain: he is adding to the repertoire. There is hardly a greater purpose especially one of his own pieces. Bravo to Mr. Kennedy. Looking forward to hearing his new opus.

  • Last time he was in Washington (National Symphony with, who else, Slatkin), he stank so badly that front desk players complained about it. Go figure.

  • Wrong, wrong, wrong! I heard him play the Beethoven at Carnegie with the Philadelphia Orchestra on October, 24, 2000. You can check the Carnegie archives. I was not impressed by him, but Roberto Abbado did conduct a nice Brahms 2nd on the second half.

  • I would rather have my prostate removed instead of listening to him play his own piece of music. I can’t believe that the orchestra allowed that crap. They should be embarrassed.

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