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Talented, intelligent, determined, and beautiful – Nicola Benedetti has it all. From her albums and upcoming concerts to her parents, find out more about the chart-topping violinist below.
The 31-year-old violinist was born on 20 July 1987 in West Kilbride, Scotland. Despite travelling all over the world, Nicola says she hasn't found any country that's more beautiful than Scotland.
Nicola was born to an Italian father, Giovanni Benedetti, and a Scottish mother, Francesca Benedetti. Giovanni Benedetti is a retired businessman and one of Scotland's best-known entrepreneurs.
By the age of nine, Nicola had already passed the eight grades of musical examinations. At the age of 10, she started attending the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey.
Nicola practises 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 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours list, for her services to music.
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 has just released the first recording of an extraordinary new violin concerto by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The pair have long enjoyed a close friendship and musical relationship, and they both believe in fighting, above all, for one thing: music education.
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 has a number of upcoming UK concert dates in 2019, including Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow on 3-5 April. She will give two concerts in Seattle, USA before journeying back to the UK to play Elgar's Violin Concerto in Oxford and London.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
Nicola Benedetti says her first love is music and her second love is educating people through the art of music. She 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."
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.