On the eve of his Australian tour, the controversial violinist talks about his greatest musical influences and standing up Yehudi.

Nigel Kennedy’s latest album My Worldis a way of saying thank you to the people who have inspired him. “As musicians we’re always sharing good vibes – hopefully good music – with our colleagues and audiences,” the violinist tells me. “But we’re all here because we’ve been inspired in earlier years by somebody else.”

Kennedy composed five works – Dedications– for the album, each piece dedicated to a different musician. “I wrote those melodies with five really important people in mind, who opened new doors of perception for me.”

Perhaps the most significant influence to whom Kennedy pays tribute is Yehudi Menuhin, to whom he dedicates the piece Solitude. Kennedy attended the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music, where he studied with the revered violinist. “He was very open minded,” Kennedy says. “He maybe wasn’t the most technically superior violinist in the world, but he could play two notes and they would have more pathos than a thousand notes by some other cat. He was a spiritual, altruistic musician...

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