Nicola Benedetti Prepares Her Next Star Turn: Festival Leader

“Too many times in my life I’ve seen, ‘Let’s have the whole nation playing the violin in two years,’ and people saying, ‘Our world will be fixed if that happens,’” Benedetti said of the organization’s constructive role within the wider education ecosystem. Within minutes, she flipped from arch idealist to blunt realist: “I’m in a position which is constantly doing this,” she said, putting her index fingers together, and wiggling them like a seismometer needle.

Benedetti quickly shuts down questions about her personal life, and about the large ring on her finger. Otherwise, there’s a friendly gregariousness to her that belies her solitary violin work. “There’s a lonely quality to the soloist world, and especially because I didn’t go to college,” she said. “I left school at 15 and between the ages of 15 to 23, where you form some of those really strong bonds, I was basically on my own out there. That made an already quite lonely profession a bit more lonely.”

A summer day in Berlin last year offered an alternative to that; Benedetti found herself shielding from “too much community,” focusing on her concert there rather than on a city full of friends. And the best friend she’s made around the world? “This person,” she said, pointing to the ring.

“And family,” she quickly added. Benedetti used to live in London but is now based in Surrey, which she said has strengthened her support system: “I get excited about going home, and I can’t say that I ever really felt that when I lived in London.”

The move places her close to relatives for the first time since she was a child; she’s a 15-minute drive from her sister (and fellow violinist) Stephanie Benedetti, along with her 1-year-old nephew Nico and 3-year-old niece Sienna, who received her first miniature violin for Christmas.

There is a sense that personal connections come first for Nicola Benedetti. “I’ve refound in the last six or seven years,” she said, “such a community developed through the teaching and educating world, different parts of the industry that you wouldn’t necessarily access through being a touring concert soloist.”

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