Nicola Benedetti MBE

Nicola Benedetti is Patron of The Cumnock Tryst.

…it was thrilling to hear and watch Nicola Benedetti in a truly risk-taking performance that lived so much in the body and fused the sinews of the violin and the nerve-system of the player. Hilary Finch, The Times

Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.

With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Nicola begins the 15/16 season by embarking on a tour of the UK and Dublin’s leading concert halls performing a personally curated programme together with a specially formed ensemble.  The programme features Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the World Premiere of a work by Mark-Anthony Turnage written for Benedetti and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich. The commissioning of new works continues with the World Premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra written especially for Nicola. 

Other concerto performances include engagements with the Israel Philharmonic, Verdi Orchestra Milano, RSO Stuttgart, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Tasmania Symphony Orchestra. This season will also see Nicola continuing her passion for music of the Italian Baroque and historical performance realised in collaborations with Andrea Marcon with the Manchester Camerata and WDR Cologne. 

Most recently Nicola enjoyed collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, WDR Cologne, Camerata Salzburg, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, La Cetra Barockorchester, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Capitole du Toulouse, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.

Conductors whom Nicola has worked and will work with include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiří Bělohlávek, Stéphane Denève, Christoph Eschenbach, James Gaffigan, Hans Graf, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hrusa, Kirill Karabits, Louis Langrée, Andrew Litton, Kristjan Järvi, Neeme Jaarvi, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Cristian Macelaru, Andrea Marcon, Sir Neville Marriner, Diego Matheuz, Peter Oundjian, Vasily Petrenko, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Sondergard, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Krzysztof Urbanski, Juraj Valcua, Pinchas Zukerman, and Jaap van Zweden.

With her regular duo partner, pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola frequently performs recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals with most recent and future highlights including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rome, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, Bielefeld and Kiel. Nicola is also a devoted chamber musician and collaborates with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, who have been performing as a trio since 2008.  Recent and future performances include St John’s Smith Square in London, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh Usher Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, LSO St. Luke's, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Die Glocke Bremen, Hong Kong City Hall, two tours of South America, and at the Edinburgh, Ravinia, Schloss Elmau, Engadin Festival and Cheltenham Festivals.

Fiercely committed to music education and to developing young talent, Nicola has formed associations with education establishments including schools, music colleges and local authorities.  In 2010, she became Sistema Scotland’s official musical ‘Big Sister’ for the Big Noise project; a music initiative partnered with Venezuela’s El Sistema (Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar).   As a board member and teacher, Nicola embraces her position of role model to encourage young people to take up music and work hard at it, and she continues to spread this message in school visits and masterclasses, not only in Scotland, but all around the world.

In addition, Nicola recently developed her own education and outreach initiative entitled The Benedetti Sessions. Established in March 2013 at Glasgow’s City Halls, these sessions give hundreds of aspiring young string players the opportunity to rehearse, undertake and observe masterclasses culminating in a performance alongside Nicola.  She has also presented The Benedetti Sessions at the Royal Albert Hall and Cheltenham Festival and has plans to develop this exciting initiative on an international scale.

Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music).  The enormous success of Nicola's most recent recording, Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Albums Chart.  The Silver Violin, also enjoyed a similar success in reaching No. 30 in the UK Albums Chart simultaneously to topping the classical charts.  Her past six recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works including the Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding), newly commissioned works by Tavener and The Lark Ascending (London Philharmonic/Andrew Litton), a disc of virtuosic works (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko), Tchaikovsky and Bruch Concertos (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Jakub Hrusa) and most recently Vivaldi, Tartini and Veracini Concerti (Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Christian Curnyn).

Nicola attracts an enormous amount of worldwide media attention following the various facets of her extraordinary career and her international television appearances have been wide and varied including performing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to a live audience of approximately 40,000 and TV viewing audience of 9.4million people.

Nicola was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours, in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the U.K. In addition, Nicola has received eight honorary degrees to date.

Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola began violin lessons at the age of five with Brenda Smith.  In 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya.  Upon leaving, she continued her studies with Maciej Rakowski and then Pavel Vernikov, and continues to work with multiple acclaimed teachers and performers.

Nicola plays the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.

 

Nicola is represented by Emblem Artists.

I am proud to be Patron of this wonderful Festival in my beloved Ayrshire. The Festival offers truly amazing experiences for concertgoers, and I am particularly heartened that Sir James continues to champion music education, a cause very close to my heart. The Festival works in schools and with children and adults with disabilities, and also gives a platform to young composers and performers.

Anyone who knows me knows how important I believe the experience of performing and listening to classical music is. The benefits are obvious, and The Cumnock Tryst continues to contribute to this through its very important work in this area - but it’s great fun too!
— Nicola Benedetti MBE