Nicola Benedetti

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Nicola Benedetti

Nicky Benedetti.jpg
Nicola Benedetti at Royal Albert Hall
Background information
Born (1987-07-20) 20 July 1987 (age 32)
Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
Years active2005–present
LabelsDeutsche Grammophon
Universal Classics and Jazz
Decca Records

Nicola Joy Nadia Benedetti CBE (born 20 July 1987) is a Scottish classical violinist.

Early life and education[edit]

Benedetti was born in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, to an Italian father and an Italian-Scottish mother.[1] She started learning to play the violin at the age of four.[2] At age eight, she became the leader of the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain.[3] By the age of nine, she had already passed the eight grades of musical examinations while attending the independent Wellington School, Ayr,[4] and in September 1997 began to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School for young musicians under Baron Menuhin and Natasha Boyarskaya in rural Surrey, England.[5]

At the end of her first year (1998), she played solo in the school's annual concert at Wigmore Hall, and performed in London and Paris as a soloist in Bach's Double Violin Concerto (together with Alina Ibragimova). She played in a memorial concert at Westminster Abbey celebrating the life and work of Yehudi Menuhin.

Nicola has an older sister, Stephanie, who is also a violinist and a member of pop group Clean Bandit.

Early public performances[edit]

In 1999, Benedetti performed for the anniversary celebrations at Holyrood Palace with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland in the presence of The Prince Edward.

In 2000, Benedetti performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Opera.

She played to the Prince again in 2001 when she performed a concerto with the London Mozart Players at St. James's Palace. Subsequent performances followed with the City of London Sinfonia, as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, etc.[6]

In August 2002, she won the UK's Brilliant Prodigy Competition, broadcast by Carlton Television. She left the Menuhin School shortly after, and at the age of 15 began studying privately with Maciej Rakowski, former leader of the English Chamber Orchestra.[7]

In spring 2003, Benedetti, invited as a soloist by the London Symphony Orchestra, participated in the recording of the DVD titled "Barbie of Swan Lake" at Abbey Road Studios. In October 2003, as the extra feature on this DVD, "Playing With Passion" was filmed and released by Mattel. BBC Scotland, using this DVD, created a documentary on Benedetti, which was broadcast on television in the U.K. in March 2004.

BBC Young Musician of the Year[edit]

At the age of 16, she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in May 2004, performing Karol Szymanowski's First Violin Concerto in the final at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.[8][9] As a result of gaining the award, she came first in the music section of the Top Scot award in December 2005.[10]

Since 2012[edit]

In September 2012, she performed at the Last Night of the Proms.[11]

Aside from solo performances, Benedetti performs in a trio with the German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, and Russian pianist Alexei Grynyuk.[12]


Benedetti was awarded honorary doctorates from Glasgow Caledonian University in November 2007, and from Heriot-Watt University in 2010,[13] and an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh in November 2011.[14]

She was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year's Honours "For services to Music and to charity",[15][16] and was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2017.[17] In 2015, she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.[18]

In May 2017, she was presented with the Queen's Medal for Music, the youngest of the twelve people to receive the award since it was established in 2005.[19]

She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours, "For services to Music".[20]



Title Details Peak chart positions
UK UK Classical
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1 1[21]
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
  • Released: 15 May 2006
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Vaughan Williams and Tavener
  • Released: 7 September 2009
  • Label: Decca Records
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Tchaikovsky and Bruch: Violin Concertos
  • Released: 8 October 2010
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
  • Released: 20 February 2011
  • Label: Decca Records
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
The Silver Violin
  • Released: 24 August 2012
  • Label: Decca Records
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
My First Decade
  • Released: 20 September 2013
  • Label: Decca Records
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Homecoming – A Scottish Fantasy
  • Released: 4 July 2014
  • Label: Decca Records
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
19 1
Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite


  1. ^ "Nicola Benedetti". Scotland is the Place. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Meet the woman who turned a tearful schoolgirl into a superstar". The Scotsman. 30 January 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  3. ^ Nicola Benedetti, interviewed during BBC Radio 3 broadcast of 2012 BBC Proms (aired Sunday 5 August 2012)
  4. ^ "Violinist Nicola Benedetti Named BBC Young Musician of the Year". 5 May 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 10 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ [2] Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Jessica Werb. "Benedetti makes music, not stardom, priority". The Georgia Straight – Vancouver News and Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  8. ^ [3] Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "BBC NEWS – Entertainment – Violinist, 16, wins musical title". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Rankin the toast of Scotland as fans sing his praises". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Prom 76: Last Night of the Proms – review". The Guardian. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  12. ^ "BBC Radio Three Lunchtime Concert". London Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Honorary Graduates 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Violinist Nicola Benedetti debuts in Rome". Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  15. ^ The United Kingdom:"No. 60367". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 28 December 2012. p. 15.
  16. ^ "Violinist Nicola Benedetti receives Order of the British Empire". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  17. ^ "RSE Welcomes 60 New Fellows" (Press release). Royal Society of Edinburgh. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  18. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2015: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  19. ^ Davis, Lizzie (23 May 2017). "Nicola Benedetti awarded Queen's Medal for Music". Classic FM. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  20. ^ "New Year Honours List 2019". The London Gazette. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Violinist Benedetti, 18, to perform in La Jolla – The San Diego Union-Tribune". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  22. ^ [4] Archived 6 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Nicola Hits The Top Spot With New Album". Dailyrecord. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Nicola Benedetti Announces New Album With Wynton Marsalis". uDiscoverMusic. Retrieved 24 July 2019.

External links[edit]