Director / Violin
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. Conductors with whom Nicola has worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiří Bělohlávek, Stéphane Denéve, Christoph Eschenbach, James Gaffigan, Hans Graf, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hrůša, Kirill Karabits, Andrew Litton, Kristjan Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Cristian Măcelaru, Zubin Mehta, Andrea Marcon, Peter Oundjian, Vasily Petrenko, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Søndergård, Krzysztof Urbanski, Juraj Valcua, Edo de Waart, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaap van Zweden.
Nicola enjoys working with the highest level of orchestras including collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival.
The Summer of 2017 sees Nicola make her debut at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival with Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. She returns to the BBC Proms with Thomas Søndergård and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and to the Edinburgh International Festival with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. This 17/18 season Nicola makes her debut with the Orchestre de Paris and collaborates with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Philadelphia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bremen Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, New World Symphony and Baltimore Symphony with Marin Alsop. She will also undertake a U.K. and North American tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
With her regular duo partner pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola frequently performs recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals with most recent 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 performances include London’s Cadogan Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh Festival, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Ravinia Festival, New York’s 92nd Street Y and Hong Kong City Hall. In Summer 2017, the trio returned for the third time to extensively tour South America. Spring 2018 will see the trio’s welcome return to North America with performances in Boston and Vancouver.
Fiercely committed to music education and to developing young talent, Nicola has formed associations with 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 developed her own education and outreach initiative entitled The Benedetti Sessions that give hundreds of aspiring young string players the opportunity to rehearse, undertake and observe masterclasses culminating in a performance alongside Nicola. She has presented The Benedetti Sessions at the Royal Albert Hall, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Concert Hall Glasgow, and has plans to develop this on an international scale.
Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording of Shostakovich & Glazunov Violin Concertos has been met with critical acclaim.
Richard Morrison of The Times maintains that “This riveting performance of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is Nicola Benedetti’s best recording to date.” Her past seven recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works from Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) to Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, which made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official U.K. Albums Chart.
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 9.4 million people.
Nicola was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2017, the youngest ever recipient, and 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 United Kingdom. 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.