On Air Now
Smooth Classics with Margherita Taylor 10pm - 1am
As her record label, Decca, celebrates 10 years of Nicola Benedetti with her 'My First Decade' compilation, we take a look back at the defining moments in the Scottish violinist's incredible career.
Aged just 16, Nicola Benedetti signed a £1m recording deal with Decca Records for six albums back in 2004 - probably a good investment, we reckon.
Rather than play it safe and release a first recording of established violin classics, Benedetti established herself as a serious artist with a rendition of the Szymanowski Violin Concerto in 2005, met with great acclaim.
Nicola received the first of several academic honours back in 2007, becoming an honorary Doctor of Letters at Glasgow Caledonian University.
2008 saw Nicola pick up her first ever Classic BRIT Award, in the Young British Classical Performer category.
As if she didn't have enough work to do as a solo artist, Nicola formed the Benedetti Trio in 2008 with cellist Leonard Elschenbroch and pianist Alexei Grynyuk.
Alfie Boe presents musician Nicola Benedetti with The Classical Award sponsored by PPL on stage at The O2 Silver Clef Awards Luncheon in aid of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy at The Hilton Park Lane on July 4, 2008 in London.
Surely one of the most important developments in Nicola's career was getting her hands on an incredible violin. The Gariel Stradivarius is on a long-term loan to Benedetti from the legendary conductor Jaime Laredo.
Throughout her career, education has been a huge focus for Nicola. She remind true to her words in 2010 when she became a 'Big Sister' in the Big Noise scheme, an education programme modelled on the Venezuelan El Sistema project.
Nicola's always had a determination to see music education improved for others across the UK, but the tables were turned on her when she was awarded an honorary degree from Heriot-Watt University, "in recognition of her outstanding contribution to music in Scotland and internationally." She seemed to take it well at the time.
And that wasn't the only time that academia caught up with her - in 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate, to follow the one she received from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2007. Again, she doesn't seem to be in any way sad about it.
Jumping ahead of Justin Bieber, Nicola's movie-inspired album The Silver Violin performed an incredible feat and climbed to no. 30 in the UK pop charts, making Benedetti the first classical artist to hit the charts since Nigel Kennedy.
Adding to her already-groaning mantlepiece of awards, Nicola picked up her second Classic BRIT Award in 2012, this time for Female Artist of the Year. Picture: PA Photos
Not only did Nicola pick up a BRIT Award at the 2012 ceremony, she also made an impassioned acceptance speech that told the whole nation how she felt about the state of music education: "I would really like to dedicate this award to the hundreds of thousands of music teachers and campaigners up and down the country… The amount of work they put in for very little return truly, truly amazes me and they deserve a lot more thanks." Picture: PA
Perhaps her most prestigious honour to date came at the beginning of 2013, though, when she was included in the Queen's New Year's Honours list and received an MBE. According to Nicola, when she picked up the award the Queen herself told her that she needed to take some time off! She duly agreed, and has vowed to take the month before her decade-celebrating new album is released at the end of September.