Nicola was born in Scotland to an Italian father and a Scottish mother. She began violin lessons at the age of four and became the leader of the NCO at eight years old. In 1997, Nicola entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. In May 2004, at the age of 16, Nicola won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. Nicola was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to music and charity in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.
I am profoundly honoured to become a Vice-President of the NCO because it’s an organisation which I hold really close to my heart. My time with the NCO was such an influential and formative experience. At the age of eight I was learning the value and importance of collaboration with other musicians as well as gaining an insight into the world of orchestral playing. Experiencing the huge orchestral sound gave me confidence in my own playing and a new level of excitement about classical music and the experience of performing it, and knowing that the NCO continues to do that for other young musicians year after year is truly exciting!
NCO’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Roger Clarkson, expresses his delight about Nicola becoming a Vice-President:
Nicola is the perfect example of how musicians can benefit from the NCO experience; therefore we are thrilled that Nicola is sustaining a close association with the NCO by becoming a Vice-President. We hope that other young musicians will be inspired to develop their talent and follow in Nicola’s footsteps, whilst continuing to benefit from all that the NCO offers.
In addition to a performance at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 14 August where NCO’s Under 13 Orchestra were joined on stage by Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis, the NCO also performed at Leeds Town Hall, Cheltenham Town Hall, G Live in Guildford, Colston Hall in Bristol and The Anvil in Basingstoke, all of which delighted audiences, with feedback including: “The concert was outstanding and the enthusiasm of the performers was palpable from the moment they came on stage”. The concerts included a world premiere of Matthew Curtis’ Ballet Suite, a stunning performance of one of the BBC Ten Pieces – ‘Finale’ from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, as well as collaboration with the Bristol Choral Society.
Sixteen NCO string players were given a unique opportunity in September 2015 as they were chosen to perform with their new Vice-President during Nicola’s Italy and the Four Seasons tour. Eight members joined Nicola on stage at Bridgewater Hall on 22 September and a further eight members joined the sensational violinist at Symphony Hall Birmingham on 26 September to perform Vivaldi's Concerto No. 3. Both NCO and Nicola are looking forward to working closely together in the future.