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Lauri Kennedy (1896 - 1985)


The Australian cellist Lauri Kennedy (cousin to violinist Daisy Kennedy and grandfather of Nigel Kennedy) studied with Herbert Walenn at London’s Royal College of Music and later with Paul Brummer in Vienna. After being noticed by the famous soprano Nellie Melba, he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to become principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, later moving to London to take up a similar post with the newly-formed BBC Symphony Orchestra under Adrian Boult. In America he played chamber music with Arthur Rubinstein and Jascha Heifetz, and in London was a member of the Chamber Music Players with Albert Sammons, Lionel Tertis and William Murdoch, also playing with the Kreisler Quartet. Kennedy recorded with John McCormack, Fritz Kreisler and William Primrose, and gave first performances both of Edgar Bainton’s Cello Sonata and (after its rejection by both Suggia and Salmond) Frank Bridge’s Oration.

A significant tour of Australia in 1938 led to Kennedy’s return to America as principal cellist of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, before a permanent return to Australia where he purchased a hotel and ran music summer schools with his wife (who also taught Caruso’s children).

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