Kennedy, Nigel

Kennedy, Nigel,

1956–, British violinist. He studied with Dorothy DeLay at the Julliard School, New York City, and debuted as a soloist with the London Philharmonic in 1977. Adept at the classical repertoire, he developed an interest in jazz as a student, introducing it into his concerts in the late 1980s. The young virtuoso gained wide attention for his superb technique and tone and his spontaneously adventurous playing style. Kennedy also became known (and often criticized) for his rock star–like stage persona—spiky hair, eccentric clothing, and jewelry. His fame soared upon the release of his lively version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons (1989). After a hiatus (1992–97), he resumed performing, and in 1998 he became known simply as "Kennedy."