Musical legend back to his roots

Worcester News: HE’S BACK IN TOWN: Violinist Nigel Kennedy is to perform at Malvern Theatres in May. HE’S BACK IN TOWN: Violinist Nigel Kennedy is to perform at Malvern Theatres in May.

EVEN as one of the world’s leading violinists, Nigel Kennedy is getting excited about returning to his roots both musically and physically.

Despite living a jetset lifestyle, the virtuoso musician and former West Malvern resident is eagerly looking forward to returning to the green hills of his home to spread some party vibes at the end of his upcoming tour.

Once known for his lively and outlandish performances, he is promising that an entirely different approach will be on display for his two-night stint at Malvern Theatres on Friday and Saturday, May 10-11.

He’ll be paying homage to the music he has grown up with and taken inspiration from by celebrating the music of Bach and Fats Waller and giving a nod to Yehudi Menuhin, too.

Doffing his cap to his heroes, he says: “Everyone who plays music does it in their own way but it’s good to remember your debt to whatever legacy there has been in your life.”

He added: “I have decided to come back with a fairly intimate and personal recital – it’s acoustic stuff largely inspired by two of my main mentors that I had when I was a young guy.”

Last in town with the English Symphony Orchestra seven years ago, he now splits most of his time between Cracow in Poland and London to create a lifestyle he calls “schizophrenic”. But his ties with Malvern remain strong, thanks to his friends and child who remain in the area, prompting him to describe it as “a little bit of a homecoming, a long lost reunion.”

Away from airing his latest work, which features on a new album titled Recital, he is looking forward to walking on the Malvern Hills seeing “a bit of life” in the town.

He also seemed genuinely excited at some of Malvern’s musical developments that have happened in the last few months, especially the re-opening of Re-con in Church Street and the re-birth of the youth centre as Malvern Cube.

On the subject of Re-con, the town’s only dedicated music and arts venue which reopened in December, he said: “I remember at some point it was quite hard for the so-called younger generation to find anything to do, so that’s great.

So impressed with the promise of the live music scene, he is even dangling the hope of an impromptu performance in the venue once his formal duties are dispensed with.

“I am sure we will end up going and having a jam there with the local musicians and some of my lot.” The concerts will be split in two, with a Bach violin solo opening proceedings before the interval gives way to an acoustic guitarist, double bassist and percussionist joining him to perform his own arrangements of the music of Fats Waller.

Tickets are £39.50 or £42.50 and the concerts both start at 7.30pm. For more information, go to malvern-theatres.co.uk or call the box office on 01684 892277.

l For more conversation with Nigel Kennedy about his upcoming concerts in Malvern, see the music page of the Leisure section in your Worcester News on Friday.

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