Stories » Nigel Kennedy - 'When I heard Jimi Hendrix, he made me want to play the violin like a guitar' / Daily Mail

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Nigel Kennedy - 'When I heard Jimi Hendrix, he made me want to play the violin like a guitar' / Daily Mail

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At 58, with greying hair, Nigel Kennedy is more wise old sage than wild child these days. But the violin maestro is still a rock 'n' roll rebel at heart – which is why he's going on tour with the music of the Purple Haze guitar star.

Each, in his own way, is notorious: Jimi Hendrix, the tragic bad-boy rock 'n' roll guitarist, and Nigel Kennedy, the fiddling firebrand who upset the world of classical music with his maverick antics. Now, however, 45 years after the sudden death of Hendrix from a cocktail of drink and drugs in a Notting Hill apartment, the two musical legends are to come together – united in a heady trio of concerts where Kennedy will play the late axe god's songs.

It is not for the first time, and it won't be the last, for  believes the world of classical music has much to learn from the riotous arena of rock 'n' roll. ‘When I heard Jimi, he made me want to play the violin like a guitar: more aggressive, more passion,' Kennedy explains, his hedgehog hair looking a little greyer these days at the age of 58.  ‘You hear a lot of musicians taught by the conservatoire going through the motions, whereas the great rock guitarists were in tune with their instrument. They pushed things. They played like fire.'

Kennedy has been captivated by Hendrix since he first heard his music while cloistered at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey from the age of seven to 16. There, the Brighton-born child prodigy was marked for classical greatness from the age of ten, but he says felt stifled by the purist environment.  Instead of burying himself in the past – he once quipped, ‘Just because you're playing music written hundreds of years ago you don't have to look like you've been buried with the composer' – he found escape listening to rock music on a portable radio he hid under the bed covers.  READ THE FULL Daily Mail ARTICLE