Decca artist Nicola Benedetti has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours. The 25-year-old Scottish violinist, who reached a massive global television audience as soloist at the 2012 BBC Last Night of the Proms, received the award for Services to Music and Charity. “I am deeply honoured to receive an MBE”, she commented. “This has come as a real surprise to me and I am humbled. I hope this honour can help me continue to draw attention to the importance of classical music and the arts in British society.”

Benedetti’s impassioned artistry and articulate advocacy for arts education have touched the lives of many people ordinarily excluded from the experience of listening to and performing classical music. She secured a place in the Top 40 of the UK albums chart in September following the release by Decca of The Silver Violin, the highest chart position achieved by a British instrumentalist since Nigel Kennedy 21 years earlier. The Silver Violin progressed to become the UK’s best-selling classical album of 2012 and was named as iTunes Best Classical Album of the Year.

In addition to being honoured for her international career as concerto soloist, recitalist and recording artist, Nicola Benedetti received the MBE for her work with musical charities throughout the United Kingdom. She has visited many British schools since 2005 as Patron of CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, leading Practice-a-thon sessions and encouraging pupils to pick up their instruments and enjoy making classical music. In 2010 Benedetti became involved in El Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise project, an education initiative inspired by and created in partnership with Venezuela’s El Sistema. Her close participation in Big Noise, as board member and mentor, continued last year with masterclasses and coaching sessions with disadvantaged children on Stirling’s Raploch housing estate.