Top British violinist pops into Wellington

Last updated 15:07 10/10/2012
Nicola Benedetti

Pop idol: Classical musician Nicola Benedetti's album The Silver violin has reached unexpected heights in the popular music charts.

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British violinist Nicola Benedetti might have expected her professional peers to be formally-dressed orchestra musicians, but instead she found herself among boy bands and teen idols.

Her new album The Silver Violin reached 32 on the British alum chart, eclipsing Justin Bieber and making it the most successful record by a classical soloist since Nigel Kennedy.

Benedetti is to perform in Wellington will peform in Wellington with the New Zealand Symphony Orchetra this weekend.

At just 16 years old, in 2004, she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award.

Last week, she was named best female artist at the 2012 Classic BRIT Awards.

Her success did not come as a surprise she said, because she entered the world of classical music with no expectations.

''Nevertheless I have felt beyond fortunate to have received the opportunities I have these past few years.

"I'm trying to honour them and the music as best I can,'' she said.

Her life was busier, fuller and more hectic than ever before, but was hugely fulfilling and educational, she said.

''My hopes are to develop as a musician and to manage the balance between this and my commitment to bringing the core of classical music to new people day in, day out.''

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major was once considered unplayable, but the youthful violinist mastered it and it became a regular part of her repertoire.

All the great violin concertos posed different challenges, but Tchaikovsky's were primarily stamina and strength, she said.

''It was the first major romantic violin concerto I fell in love with as a little girl, so for that reason recording it was an emotional moment for me.''

Benedetti will perform the piece in Wellington this week with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Forbidden Love.

Other pieces featuring in the concert will be Kenneth Young's Dance, Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and another piece by Tchaikovsky,  Francesca da Rimini, Opus 32.

- Forbidden Love, Saturday, October 13, Michael Fowler Centre. Wellington soprano Joanna Heslop will give a free 30-minute talk 45 minutes before the concert.
To book visit or call 0800 842 538.

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