Nicola Benedetti was born on 1 July 1987 in West Kilbride (Ayrshire) to Italian parents. In 1997 she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. While at the school Nicola performed as a soloist in venues including the Royal Festival, Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls. In 1998 she was a soloist in Bach’s Double Concerto under Menuhin, and performed the slow movement of the same work at Lord Menuhin’s Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey on 3 June 1999. In 1999 she performed in the presence of HRH Prince Edward at the anniversary celebrations of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland at Holyrood Palace; she played to the Prince again in 2001 when she performed a concerto with the London Mozart Players at St. James’s Palace. From 2002 she studied privately with Maciej Rakowski, former leader of the English Chamber Orchestra.
Wins the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition playing Szymanowski’s First Concerto; at the end of the year she signs a recording agreement with Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Group
In her Wigmore Hall debut recital she performs newly commissioned works by Craig Armstrong and John Tavener; her first US tour begins with a performance at the Academy of Achievement Summit at New York’s Lincoln Center; makes her “BBC Prom in the Park” debut in London. Her debut release on Deutsche Grammophon – Szymanowski’s First Concerto plus works by Chausson and Saint-Saëns, with Daniel Harding conducting the London Symphony Orchestra – is hailed by the BBC reviewer as “a great CD” and reaches No.1 on the BBC Classical Chart
Highlights include the Mendelssohn Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Stéphane Denève, the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Philharmonia conducted by Roger Norrington, and the Glazunov Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey. Released this year: the Mendelssohn Concerto and works by Mozart and James MacMillan who conducts the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
With the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester under Jakub Hruša, she makes her German debut at the Berlin Philharmonie playing the Bruch G minor Concerto, which she also performs in London at the Festival Hall with Andrew Litton conducting the London Philharmonic; concerts and recitals in the US Midwest; Nicola is made an honorary Doctor of Letters of Glasgow Caledonian University. DG releases her recording of works by Vaughan Williams and John Tavener, with Andrew Litton conducting the London Philharmonic
Winner of the Classical BRIT Award for Young British Classic Performer; makes her Austrian debut at the Vienna Musikverein with the Tonkünstler-Orchester under Kristjan Järvi playing the Sibelius Concerto, which she also performs this year with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland under Matthias Bamert
Performances in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Jakub Hruša are followed by a tour of the UK in autumn, along with highly successful debuts at the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen and the Echternach Festival in Luxembourg. Decca releases “Fantasie”, a compilation of favourite violin works
She makes her BBC Proms debut in August playing Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending at the Albert Hall, with Donald Runnicles conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, in September plays with that orchestra in the Proms’ Scottish finale in Dundee, and in December plays the Beethoven Concerto in Glasgow at the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary concert. Released this year on Decca: Tchaikovsky and Bruch concertos with the Czech Philharmonic orchestra under Jakub Hruša
Szymanowski’s First Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton and the Orchestre National de Montpellier with Lawrence Foster; concerts with the European Union Chamber Orchestra; further engagements include the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Detroit Symphony, Royal Scottish National, New York, Netherlands Radio and London Philharmonic orchestras, as well as the Manchester Camerata; concerts and recital at the Istanbul International Music Festival, recitals in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany. In July she makes her South American debut with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and during her week-long visit to Venezuela teaches numerous masterclasses in the revolutionary El Sistema. She is also a “Big Sister” in Scotland’s “Sistema” project. In autumn, her first CD as an exclusive Decca Classics artist is released: “Italia” (Baroque concertos and sonatas) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Christian Curnyn
Concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival and, at the BBC Proms, with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and BBC Symphony Orchestra (Last Night), as well as concerts with orchestras including the Hallé, BBC Scottish and City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Scottish and European Union Chamber, Münchner Symphoniker, Winterthur Musikkollegium, Chicago Symphony (Ravinia Festival), National Symphony of Washington (Wolf Trap Festival) and New Zealand Symphony; solo and chamber recitals throughout the UK, South America. This year on Decca: “The Silver Violin”, a collection of music associated with the silver screen by Korngold, Shostakovich, Carlos Gardel, John Williams, Dario Marianelli and Howard Shore.
Plans include concerts with orchestras including the BBC, Danish National, MDR (Leipzig), Dallas, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Singapore Symphony, with the Royal Scottish National, Bonn Beethoven and Hong Kong Philharmonic, as well as with the London Mozart Players and Oxford Philomusica; recitals in the UK, Italy, France, Germany and North America.