Press release from The Tower of London!
NIGEL KENNEDY CONFIRMED FOR GALA OPENING OF CONTINENTAL AIRLINES TOWER FESTIVAL
GALA OPENING NIGHT CONCERT
For over twenty-five years, Nigel Kennedy has been acknowledged as one of the world's leading violin virtuosos and is, without doubt, one of the most important violinists Britain has ever produced. With his virtuosic technique, mass appeal, unique talent and natural ability to communicate with his audience, he has brought fresh perspectives to both classical and jazz repertoire, winning critical acclaim and huge popularity among a broad-based audience and, by far, remains the best selling international classical violinist of all time.
Following a hugely successful 2008 world tour and the most talked-about BBC Prom concert of the year, Kennedy opens The Continental Airlines Tower Festival with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Kennedy and the Orchestra will perform a diverse mix of compositions which roam through Bach concertos to his own arrangements of the expressive blues and jazz music of Duke Ellington for violin, orchestra and his own ensemble. A fantastic start to the Festival, not to be missed!
Kennedy's unconventional approach to music-making is more than superficial. One of a new breed of classical musicians, he has developed a highly individualized style that draws on a wholly original musical background. Inspired by jazz and rock, Kennedy's technique is spontaneous and enhanced by his mastery of improvisation.
As a child, he was Yehudi Menuhin’s most famous protégé, studying first at the Menuhin School (where it emerged that the legendary violinist had personally paid the young Kennedy’s fees throughout his education at the school) before moving to the Juilliard School of Music in New York to study under the celebrated teacher, Dorothy DeLay.
During his career Nigel Kennedy has undertaken countless international tours, performing with the world's major orchestras and conductors, from Europe to the United States, South East Asia and Australia. Major debuts have included his 1977 London Royal Festival Hall performance, the Berlin Philharmonic in 1980, his New York orchestral debut in 1987 and his 2004 French debut.
Nigel Kennedy has attracted an enormous amount of worldwide media attention throughout his extraordinary career. His television appearances have been wide and varied and he has given numerous royal performances, including for Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales and Princess Diana. He has also been presented with many awards including, amongst others, Outstanding Contribution to British Music and Male Artist of the Year at the UK Brit Awards; in France a Gold Award on the major network TV programme Vivement Dimanche and in Switzerland The Gold Rose of Montreux.
Kennedy is the best selling classical violinist of all time. An exclusive and major EMI artist since the very start of his career, Nigel Kennedy's multi-award-winning discography is extensive. His first highly-acclaimed recording was Elgar's Violin Concerto which was voted 1985 Record of the Year by Gramophone Magazine and was awarded Best Classical Album of the Year at the BPI Awards, selling in excess of 300,000 copies. His recordings of the Brahms and Beethoven violin concertos have each sold over 100,000 copies and his first landmark recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling classical work of all time. Over 2 million copies have been sold and the album remained top of the UK classical charts for over a year. His second Vivaldi volume with the Berlin Philharmonic won the prestigious German Echo Award for Best Performance of 18th Century Music and the supreme Austrian classical award The Amadeus Prize for Best Instrumental Recording of 2005. He has also recorded concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Walton, alongside chamber music and recital discs. His passion for jazz resulted in the album Blue Note Sessions made under the eye of Grammy award winning producer Jay Newland featuring a band of jazz giants such as Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette amongst others. Released in 2006 on the legendary Blue Note Label, Kennedy was the first ever EMI Classics violinist to be invited to join the label.
2008 album releases included: Polish Spirit, a stunning recording of the forgotten Emil Mlynarski Violin Concerto, coupled with the Mieczyslaw Karlowicz Violin Concerto, with the Polish Chamber Orchestra, a disc which won the prestigious Polish Fryderyk Album of the Year, a Grammy nomination and the 2008 Echo Award for Instrumentalist of the Year; recordings of the Beethoven and Mozart Violin Concerto No 4, again with the Polish Chamber Orchestra, which saw Kennedy as both soloist and director; plus an eclectic double album of Kennedy’s own compositions with the Nigel Kennedy Quintet, entitled A Very Nice Album.
In September 2002 Kennedy was appointed Artistic Director of the Polish Chamber Orchestra, a role once held by Kennedy's teacher and mentor, the late Lord Menuhin. Kennedy is in the process of creating a new orchestra of young performers, called the Orchestra of Life.
The CONTINENTAL AIRLINES TOWER FESTIVAL was masterminded by impresario Harvey Goldsmith CBE, one of the most respected classical music promoters in the world and the man who invented stadium opera. Goldsmith first delighted the British public in the eighties by promoting and staging such classical music concerts with Luciano Pavarotti at Hyde Park and Wembley Stadium along with the groundbreaking Three Tenor concerts with Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo.
He was also responsible for bringing opera to the masses with Aida at Earls Court and then touring productions of Carmen and Tosca. A larger than life character, Harvey is also a tireless champion and promoter of charitable events and causes, in 1982 he promoted LIVE AID along with Bob Geldof raising £140 million and has since raised hundreds of millions for the Princes Trust, Teenage Cancer Trust, Net Aid and various other charities.
Commenting on the forthcoming CONTINENTAL AIRLINES TOWER FESTIVAL Harvey Goldsmith added; “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be working with Historic Royal Palaces and the Tower of London to bring what is arguably the finest classical music and arts festival to be staged in one of London’s most historic and iconic buildings.”
Tickets for the CONTINENTAL AIRLINES TOWER FESTIVAL 2009 are on sale now. Tickets for Nigel Kennedy’s Gala Opening go on sale on Thursday 9th April.
For more information and tickets go to www.towerfestival.com
Ticketmaster – 0844 847 2519
See tickets – 0871 230 1080
Seatem – 0844 209 0335
Ticketline – 0844 888 9991
For official VIP hospitality package please call 020 8222 8420.
Harvey Goldsmith & AEG Live Present