Video: Nigel Kennedy and Palestine Strings play Vivaldi at 2013 BBC Proms

The BBC has released this video of the much anticipated 8 August performance by world-renowned violinist Nigel Kennedy with Palestine Strings and members of Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life, at the 2013 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The innovative performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons included both classical and Arabic-inspired improvisations.

After the performance, Kennedy told the rapturous audience, “Giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen.

The entire performance – not to be missed – can be heard online from BBC Radio 3 for only 5 more days.

The Palestine Strings performers, including the brothers Mustafa, Omar and Ghandi Saad, range in age from 12 and 23 and study at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Following the performance of Four Seasons, Kennedy introduced Mustafa Saad, 15, who joined Kennedy to play the slow movement of Vivaldi’s A Minor Concerto for Two Violins.

The performance closed with one of Kennedy’s own compositions titled Falling Forest.

Kennedy has refused to play in Israel citing its violations of Palestinian rights.

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@ Ali
When I saw this amazing young Palestinian violonist in the video, I thought instantly that he looked like a younger 'copy' of Omar Saad, the Druze youngster who refused to join the Israeli army and wrote a letter to Bibi.
Now reading in your text that "the Palestinian String performers including Mustafa, Omar and Ghandi Saad", I'd love to be confirmed that it actually is the Omar Saad in this article:
http://electronicintifada.net/...

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just read that the wretched old BBC will censor Kennedy's remarks.

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This should be for sale and some of the proceedings go to a cause associated with Palestine or the Edward Said Orchestra or something. SUCH an incredible initiative, the whole concert should live on - applause and all. I'd buy several copies were they available.

So much joy and creativity for a cause, LOVED it! (I'm in Australia and we only had it aired today.)

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Perhaps Nigel Kennedy needs to leave Vivaldi's Four Seasons alone for another 25 years if this is what he is going to bring to the performance whenever he plays it. Nothing against the Arabic plaintive singing or 'fiddle playing' - I quite like Middle Eastern music - but NOT in the middle of a Vivaldi concert. Nothing against his stand for Palestine either, which I think should have been broadcast. But he ruined Vivaldi's work. There was no need for the jazz riffs, the heavy bass playing, piano or drums. For the most part this was incredibly awful only made bearable when Kennedy actually started playing Vivaldi's score. Kennedy has just lost his mantle as the greatest Vivaldi player.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.