Fresh from a bust-up with ‘Jurassic FM’ over playing Hendrix, the violinist talks about musical snobbery, going on strike and his lifelong regret at turning Duke Ellington down
Throughout his career, Nigel Kennedy has had run-ins with what he calls the “self-appointed wielders of power”. The latest came last week, when he pulled out of a gig at the Royal Albert Hall two days before showtime, accusing organisers Classic FM of preventing him performing a Jimi Hendrix tribute, which they deemed “unsuitable for our audience”.
“This is musical segregation,” he said as the news broke. “If it was applied to people, it would be illegal. If that type of mentality is rampant in the arts, then we still haven’t fixed the problem of prejudice. This is much more serious than my feathers being a bit ruffled. Prejudice in music is completely dreadful. They’re effectively saying that Hendrix is all right in the Marquee Club, but not in the Albert Hall.”