World-renowned violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti debuted in Rome this March. The Scottish-born daughter of Italian immigrants started playing at age four, and by the age of eight had auditioned for and made the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. By age nine, she had passed all eight grades of musical examinations. By 16, she had studied under Yehudi Menuhin, won BBC’s Young Musician of the Year and signed with a record label.
One of the youngest recipients of the honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2007, she has received two more honorary degrees since then. Now, at the age of 25, she has released seven albums, performed with Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart and played for British royalty twice. She plays the extraordinary Gariel Stradivarius made in 1717, worth approximately 6.3 million pounds, that is on loan from her patron, banker Jonathan Moulds.
Benedetti is known for her friendliness and for blending classical, pop, old, new, famous and obscure. The Silver Violin, her most recent album, ranges from tangoes by Gardel to Schindler’s List by John Williams.
She identifies very strongly with her Italian heritage. Her Roman debut was at Università la Sapienza, in the Piazza Aldo Moro.