It was Gandhi who said: “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

For Scotland, it’s in safe hands after the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) appointed Nicola Benedetti as honorary president and Bridget McConnell as an honorary vice president.

Violinist, educator and global champion of the arts, Benedetti CBE joins an illustrious list of honorary presidents of the institution which has included Lord Kelvin, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dame Janet Baker, Sir Alexander Gibson, Dame Judi Dench and, most recently, Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Dr McConnell CBE, who retired last month as chief executive of Glasgow Life, has been a lifelong and passionate advocate for the vital role culture plays in the lives of people, as well as a positive economic force for cities.

READ MORE: Who is Nicola Benedetti? High achiever from a young age

Both roles are historic positions at the RCS, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary.

Honorary presidents and vice presidents support the Conservatoire in a range of ways, including as ambassadors and engaging in graduation ceremonies. Appointees are invited to serve in the role for a five-year term.

Benedetti’s first duty will be to address graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 who are returning on Wednesday to celebrate their academic achievements, having missed out on their in-person ceremonies due to the pandemic.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the RCS, said: “In Nicola and Bridget, as our new honorary president and a vice president, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is extremely lucky to have outstanding international cultural leaders and role models who are passionate and knowledgeable advocates for the power of the arts. I’m thrilled and proud to have them as part of our community.”

Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. In 2019, she formalised her commitment to music in education when she established The Benedetti Foundation.

Since its launch, the Foundation has worked with more than 29,000 participants from 103 countries through its transformative in-person workshops and online sessions for young people, students, teachers and adults.

Benedetti said: “It is such an honour to be appointed honorary president of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Institutions that nurture the highest excellence have a vital role to play in the future of Scotland.”

READ MORE: Nicola Benedetti on Vivaldi and finding her voice

In March it was announced she had been made director designate of the Edinburgh International Festival, and will take over as Festival director in October. In taking the role she becomes both the first Scottish and the first female Festival director since the Festival began in 1947.

During her time as chief executive of Glasgow Life, Dr McConnell played a significant role in many major projects, including the £35 million refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the £35m refurbishment of the Kelvin Hall.

She also oversaw the building of the £74m Riverside Museum and the £113m Emirates Arena. She was also instrumental in the bidding for and delivery of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships and the inaugural 2018 European Championships. Dr McConnell also oversaw the re-opening of the city’s world-class Burrell Collection following a £70m refurbishment.

When asked about her appointment, Dr McConnell said she was “delighted and deeply honoured”, adding that it was “an organisation I hold in the highest esteem and love dearly for the life-affirming role it plays in our higher education and cultural sectors and society more widely”.