The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #172936   Message #4195415
Posted By: Rain Dog
14-Jan-24 - 07:29 AM
Thread Name: BBC Radio This week 2024
Subject: RE: BBC Radio This week 2024
This Cultural Life - Nigel Kennedy

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 30.12.23

"John Wilson's guest is the violinist Nigel Kennedy. A prodigy whose childhood talents were nurtured by Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest violinist of the 20th century, Kennedy himself became an international star in 1989 with his recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It sold over three million copies, topping the UK classical charts for a year and went on to be listed as the biggest selling classical album of all time in the Guinness Book Of Records. An unconventional classical musician from the outset, it wasn’t just his wardrobe, accent and attitude that set him apart. As well as recording all the major violin concertos, his repertoire includes jazz standards, folk tunes and Jimi Hendrix. He remains one of the world’s greatest virtuosos.

For This Cultural Life, Nigel chooses his two violinist mentors; Yehudi Menuhin and the French musician Stéphane Grappelli with whom he shared a love of jazz and improvisation. Going to New York to study at the prestigious Juilliard School also proved a turning point for Kennedy, not so much for the teaching he received there, but for the legendary jazz musicians like Jimmy Rowles and Ellis Larkins that he sought out in clubs downtown and in Harlem. Nigel also discusses how being a fan of Aston Villa football club has made him think about crowd dynamics in his concerts and reveals the influence of his dog Huxley on his approach to his career."

I found this an interesting programme. I have not listened to much of his output but I was struck by how warmly he spoke about Menuhin and Grappelli.