A hot Bruckner tip from a celebrated diva

A hot Bruckner tip from a celebrated diva


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2021

One of our best known Wagnerians has just shared this with us:

Before the Covid pandemic hit us, a student at the Royal Academy of Music, Henry Kennedy, conducted at St John’s, Smith Square, a handpicked orchestra of the best instrumentalists from the four London music colleges . It was an astonishing performance of Bruckner 3, which I happened to attend without any foreknowledge of what to expect. So striking was the result that he and the orchestra followed it up with Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony.

Covid brought things to a halt, but not before he had entered this year’s Karajan competition at the Salzburg Festival. Out of 85 applicants he made it to the last eight. He didn’t win a prize, but he was asked to return for the next competition.

Next Saturday, October 16, at 7:30, he and his young orchestra are returning to St John’s for Bruckner’s Fourth and the Wesendonck Lieder with Rachel Nicholls, who is giving her services free. Any profit will go to Alzheimer’s.

Book here and you could be in at the start of a musical journey.


Henry Kennedy, 25


  • Michael McGrath says:

    Did I miss it? Who is the Wagner diva?

  • A. Gent says:

    a bright light in the firmament, follow him, you will not be disappointed.

  • JohnBoundy says:

    Err someone has left the divas name out!!!

  • BRUCEB says:

    “He didn’t win a prize, but he was asked to return for the next competition.”

    Why bother, if he FAILED?


    • Equal temperament says:

      Henry Kennedy is potentially a great conductor, which is why you should see him. He just needs a bit more experience, hence the invitation to return from the Karajan competition. His Shostakovich 7 at St John’s was probably the best I’ve ever heard.

    • BRUCEB says:

      (That was a reference to an earlier post, where NL wondered why some pianists are bothering to enter the 2021 Chopin competition after failing to reach the finals in previous competitions)

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Great guy. Hire him.


  • Maxipenz says:

    Watch out! There’s a lot to be expected from the young genius Henry Kennedy.

  • Gary Freer says:

    Rachel Nicholls is a very fine singer. Would she wish to be described as a Diva?

  • Tamino says:

    He might be a fine Conductor, but can he drive a lorry or slaughter a pig? Those are the skills that England needs now, for it’s popular choice to “Make Great Britain Great again.” by Brexit. (if you find sarcasm, you can keep it.)