Interview: “THE ECONOMIST’S 1843” MAGAZINE
Feature: Nicola Benedetti’s Coming of Age
The Economist 1843
By Clemency Burton-Hill
March 2017 Issue
Nicola Benedetti exploded onto the British classical music scene in 2004 after she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, aged 16, with a blistering performance of Karol Szymanowski’s fiendish first violin concerto. Since then she’s been Female Artist of the Year at the classical BRIT awards, twice; has headlined classical spectaculars such as the BBC Proms, as well as the Apple Music Festival and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games; and has sold millions of records. With “Homecoming” (2014), she became the first solo British violinist to enter the UK Top 20 since the 1990s. The year before that, she was awarded an MBE, aged 26.
Benedetti will turn 30 this summer, but she isn’t kicking back. Meeting over a cup of tea near her west London flat recently, she struck me as supercharged: a woman luminous with purpose, whose unfolding musical intelligence and technical artistry surge from every note of her latest album, a bold and unpredictable reading of the Glazunov and Shostakovich violin concertos. It sounds as though she has entered a new phase in her playing. For the past year, she admits, she has forgone any formal teaching and has been working alone for the first time since she picked up a violin, aged four. If we are seeing and hearing a new Benedetti, this maturity, this mastery, is quintessentially her own.
And now, having captivated audiences in most corners of the globe, she is off on a coast-to-coast tour of America, joining forces with ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony for a musical adventure that encompasses everyone from Vivaldi to Wynton Marsalis, Brahms to Bruch – and her old friend Szymanowski.
Benedetti tours the U.S. Feb 11th-27th, Mar 13th-Apr 6th.
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