'Bad Boy' Winner Of Classical Brit Awards

UK: Violin whiz kid Kennedy, the spiky-haired "bad boy of classical music", has been honoured as male artist of the year at the Classical Brit awards.

With a Jimi Hendrix headband and a scarf in the colours of his treasured Aston Villa football club, he has defied tradition in the strict world of classical music. He even hit the pop charts with Vivaldi's "Four Seasons".

As a child prodigy under the careful eye of Sir Yehudi Menuhin, he learned the secrets of improvisation from French jazz virtuoso Stephane Grappelli and his heroes range from Bartok to Hendrix.

The Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu, who first made her name in La Traviata at London's Covent Garden in 1994, was chosen as female artist of the year at the awards ceremony.

She and her husband, tenor Roberto Alagna, are one of the opera world's biggest box office draws.

The ceremony did make one choice to please the purists – an Outstanding Contribution award went to conductor Sir Simon Rattle, who has transformed Britain's Birmingham Symphony Orchestra over the last 18 years and is now to take up position in Berlin.

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