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As one of the most successful classical performers of his time, violinist Nigel Kennedy's genre-defying music helped him achieve a level of fame typically reserved for pop stars. A native of Brighton, England, he studied music at the Yehudi Menuhin School and at Juilliard; his debut recording, Elgar Violin Concerto, appeared in 1984, shortly followed by Nigel Kennedy Plays Jazz. In the years to follow, Kennedy collaborated not only with the more traditional likes of Riccardo Muti and the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and Andre Previn, but also with pop figures including Paul McCartney and Kate Bush; his fame reached new heights with the 1989 release of his recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, which went as high as number three on the U.K. pop charts and went on to sell well over a million copies. In 1992, neck surgery forced Kennedy to retire for several years; when he resurfaced with 1996's Kafka, he performed his own compositions for the first time, broadening his scope to include not only classical music but also elements of Celtic, rock, and jazz. The Jimi Hendrix tribute The Kennedy Experience followed in 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny