Nigel Kennedy takes football to Southbank

Violinist Nigel Kennedy is to perform a soundtrack of the 1973 World Cup qualifying match England v Poland at the Southbank.

Natalie Wheen's Great Performers, Classic FM

The legendary football match will be screened to the accompaniment of a score partially composed by Nigel Kennedy and partially improvised on the night by Kennedy and Polish jazz musicians.

The 1973 England v Poland match went down in history as the first time England failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Nigel Kennedy, himself an avid Aston Villa supporter, believes music and football are similar, "in that football brings a lot of people together and music is obviously designed expressly for that purpose. They are also both shared pursuits across all nations."

The memory of the 1973 match will still be painful for English football fans, and some may question with which nation Kennedy’s loyalties now lie. He has lived in Krakow for several years and frequently collaborates with leading Polish musicians including the klezmer band Kroke. The FA Project concert is part of a Polish Weekend which Nigel Kennedy is curating at the Southbank in May.

The festival sees the UK debut of Kennedy’s new orchestra for young Polish musicians, the Orchestra of Life. Like Kennedy himself the Orchestra is equally at home playing classical and jazz repertoire and improvising, and they will perform music by Bach and Duke Ellington. 

The weekend will also feature Polish jazz, pop and electronic musicians, and some who combine all styles. Kennedy wants to bring a small slice of the Polish culture he has come to love to London.

Nigel Kennedy's FA Project
Sunday 30 May, 7.30pm
Royal Festival Hall