Outspoken Nigel Kennedy is the best-selling classical violinist of all time
The BBC has confirmed it will cut a statement about Israeli “apartheid” made by legendary violinist Nigel Kennedy from its televised broadcast of his performance at the BBC Proms
Kennedy performed with 17 young Palestinian string players at the prestigious classical music festival at the Royal Albert Hall in London on August 8.
As the audience applauded their performance, the violinist said: \"Ladies and gentlemen, it\'s a bit facile to say it but we all know from experiencing this night of music tonight that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid means there\'s a chance for amazing things to happen.\"
His comments were heard by as many as two million listening to the concert live on BBC Radio 3, and received rapturous applause – and some consternation – from the five and a half thousand-strong live audience.
But the comments will not be aired during the television broadcast of the concert on BBC Four, the broadcaster has confirmed.
In a statement to Huffington Post UK, a BBC spokeman said: \"Nigel’s comment to the audience at his Late Night Prom on 8 August will not be included in the deferred BBC Four Broadcast on 23 August because it does not fall within the editorial remit of the Proms as a classical music festival.\"
Members of Palestinian Strings, a creation of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, joined Kennedy and several members of his Orchestra of Life to perform a reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons that blended western classical with Arabic music.
The work was “something very different” , according to Michael Church of the Independent, who described how “each movement became the framework on which free improvisations would be hung, some comic, some strange, some hauntingly beautiful.”
Kennedy, the best-selling classical violinist of all time, has refused to play in Israel for political reasons but has performed in East Jerusalem.
In 2007 told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: \"I became aware of the Palestinian story while I was a student in New York.
\"My girlfriend then was Palestinian, and, through her, I began to familiarize myself with and understand the problem even before the [separation] wall and the other atrocities.
\"She had to return home every year or she would lose her citizenship, and, like it was for all of us students, that wasn\'t exactly her thing. Then I understood that it was simply a way to harass the Palestinians and prevent them from studying.
\"I was really shocked when I saw the wall [that divides the Israel and the West Bank] here. It’s a new type of apartheid, barbaric behaviour.
\"How can you impose collective punishment and divide people from one another? We are all residents of the same planet. I would think that the world learned something from South Africa. And the world should boycott a nation that didn’t learn. That’s why I won’t perform in your country.”
In 2011, protesters against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra\'s BBC Proms concert, also at the Royal Albert Hall.