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Talented, intelligent, determined, and beautiful – Nicola Benedetti has it all. Here are 20 impressive facts about the violinist.
Despite travelling all over the world, Nicola says she hasn't found any country that's more beautiful than Scotland.
Nicola practices between three and seven and a half hours a day.
Nicola's 2012 album The Silver Violin was the first solo instrumental album in decades not only to top the classical charts but also enter the top 30 pop album charts.
Nicola took her music to rock festival crowds in 2012 as she played the main stage at the T in the Park festival in Kinross, Scotland.
Nicola likes to wear bold colours when she performs. "It allows you to stand out from the orchestra and be defined from a distance," she says.
By the age of nine, Nicola had already passed the eight grades of musical examinations.
Nicola has said if a fire broke out in her home, she would grab her violin before her cat. "In an ideal world, all three of us would escape unscathed," she says. "But if I had to choose between the cat and the violin the £2million Stradivarius would have to come first."
Nicola's motto is "Enhance your own ability, be the best you can be – but don’t keep that for yourself. Share it, expose it, give it and try to enrich other people with what you have managed to achieve."
In September 2011, Nicola appeared with tenor Andrea Bocelli at an open-air concert in New York, performing a transcription of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.
Nicola Benedetti championed the violin concerto from Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, bringing it firmly into public consciousness. She also performed the Korngold violin concerto on her Silver Violin album, creating an almost viral effect among violinists!
In 2003, Nicola participated in the soundtrack recording of the DVD ‘Barbie of Swan Lake’, an animated version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet starring Barbie the doll.
Nicola has only been to one rock concert in her life, and said she 'couldn't handle it’. Luckily, she feels at home on the classical stage.
Nicola’s father had never been to a classical concert before she began to play. At home they listened to Abba and the Bee Gees.
During school holidays, Nicola and her sister had to work for three hours every morning before they could go out to play. ‘Think how much more fun that made the afternoons,’ says Nicola.
Nicola received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2007, and another honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2011.
The violin Nicola plays is called the Gariel, made in 1717 by Stradivarius. It's worth an estimated £2m and previously belonged to an ancestor of Princess Diana.
Nicola Benedetti says her first love is music and her second love is educating people through the art of music.
Aside from solo performances, Nicola performs in a trio with her boyfriend the German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, and Russian pianist Alexei Grynyuk.
Nicola is not afraid to express her anger about the provision of music in UK schools: "Decisions have been made, especially in the light of funding cuts, that are, I think, catastrophic to our future as a nation," she has said.
Nicola admires the style of actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Monica Bellucci and Marion Cotillard but says she wouldn't ever be able to dress like them herself.