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October 12, 2007

When I was growing up in England, the violinist Nigel Kennedy was hot stuff. With his spiky hairdo, baggy MC Hammer suits and Gary Oldham grin, he injected a bit of anarchy into what was up until that point a very stiff and dignified classical music world. He was probably one of the first true "crossover" artists between the formerly very disparate landscapes of classical and pop music.

Then, one day, he fell out of fashion. Part of the problem was he decided to do a Prince. He changed his name from Nigel Kennedy to "Kennedy." He also started hogging column inches in the media by throwing temper tantrums and generally being a diva. It's one thing for an artist to appear in the arts section, but quite another for his name to crop up in the gossip pages.

Anyway, I hadn't given Kennedy much thought until he popped up again in an article I read this morning in La Scena Musicale. Norman Lebrecht's mini profile of the violinist is really touching. Poland looms large in his life these days. Well, why not?


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