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Benedetti launches musical education project

She has awards, fans and plaudits, has released best-selling records and played in concert halls throughout the world, but now Scotland's leading violinist Nicola Benedetti is to a launch her own education project.

HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE: Nicola Benedetti has launched The Benedetti Sessions.
HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE: Nicola Benedetti has launched The Benedetti Sessions.

The first of the new Benedetti Sessions will be launched this year, with a weekend of masterclasses, teaching sessions and concerts led by the former Young Musician of the Year, based at Glasgow's City Halls.

Ms Benedetti, who was in Glasgow yesterday before a whirlwind tour of the Far East and US, said her work with the Big Noise children's orchestra, as well as other educational work, inspired her to launch the project, which she said will be an annual and ever-widening event.

From March 22 to 24, the initiative, backed by the Glasgow Unesco City of Music, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS), Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), and supported by Creative Scotland with a grant of £11,382, will feature Ms Benedetti working with up to 150 young musicians in a series of events.

The 25-year-old said: "This is another chance for me to form a further relationship with NYOS and the Conservatoire, amazing organisations working with young players who are so great. I want to use what position I have to not only pass on the specifics about music, to have an intensive musical experience with those people, but also to publicly help those organisations' good work and highlight what they need in the future.

"It's not really about finding a new Nicola Benedetti. You have to be frank about that: not everyone is going to be a soloist. There are not that many spots to be able to do that, but there are opportunities to play in chamber groups and orchestras. The [main] message is about being the best musician that you can be.

"I want to do this every year and I want it to expand. I see it probably being based in Scotland for a good number of years, but also expanding in length of time, in numbers, in the amount of people that we reach, the amount of teachers that we bring in."

Ms Benedetti, who was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list, will work intensely with a smaller group of 40 musicians, already chosen by the NYOS and the RCS, in the sessions, preparing and performing Bartok's Divertimento – a piece selected to "challenge the players and encourage musical excellence".

The weekend will begin with any string players from Grade 4 standard and above who want to take part. They will have the chance to perform the Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana with Ms Benedetti.

"This last six months I have toured all over the world and there wasn't one city where I didn't teach one masterclass or teach somebody, but this is a case of making it official, larger- scale, public, and really shouting about it," she said.

The weekend will feature a question and answer session and close with a performance by the Junior Conservatoire Orchestra.

The musician added: "I really hope the weekend will be insightful and enjoyable for the young people and children participating, but also for the public who can watch our performances and sessions.

"It will also be great to be back in Scotland, as the weekend falls during my Silver Violin Tour."

Svend Brown, the director of Glasgow Unesco City of Music, said: "The Benedetti Sessions is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians and the people of Glasgow and beyond to hear, learn from and perform with one of the nation's finest musical talents."

Full details of The Benedetti Sessions, including how to register for participating in Intermezzo, are available now at www.benedettisessions.com.

Tickets for The Benedetti Sessions will be on sale from Friday at www.glasgowconcert halls.com.

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