Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti - Grand Final judge

Named BBC's Young Musician of the Year in 2004, Nicola Benedetti has captivated audiences and critics with her performances and poise, leading the London Times to call her "a shining beacon for the beleaguered cause of classical music..." Nicola's career is continually going from strength to strength, performing with some of the top international orchestras and at the most prestigious festivals around the world.

Nicola has recently returned from a US tour and her debut with the Deutsches Sinfonie Orchester at the Berlin Philharmonie. Recent engagements include performances at the Barbican's Mostly Mozart Festival with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Tonhalle Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the opening season of London's Royal Festival Hall, premiering the new Sir John Tavener commission Lalishri. The 2007/2008 season has included performances with the Ulster Orchestra, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and tour of China with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra plus recitals in London, New York, Los Angeles and Florida.

Nicola is an exclusive Universal/Deutsche Grammophon artist and releases of her third album this month, featuring Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending and three world premiere recordings of works by Sir John Tavener - Lalishri, Dyhana and a new arrangement of Song for Athene for violin and string orchestra. Nicola's second album, featuring Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto was nominated for three Classical Brit Awards. The album has received unanimous praise, reaching No. 1 on the BBC Music charts and named "Disc of the Month" by Classic FM.

In addition to her performance and recording activities, Nicola has devoted herself to humanitarian and educational causes, and is an Ambassador for CLIC Sargent.

Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola began violin lessons at the age of five. In 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. After leaving the Yehudi Menuhin School she continued her studies with Maciej Rakowski in London. Now she is currently taking lessons from Pavel Vernikov in Vienna.

Nicola plays the Earl Spencer Stradivarius (c 1712), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.

Other Judges

Nicola Benedetti - Grand Final judge

Nicola Benedetti

BBC's Young Musician of the Year in 2004.

Richard Morrison - Grand Final judge

Richard Morrison

Columnist and Chief music critic of The Times.

Paul Daniel - Grand Final judge

Paul Daniel

Awarded the CBE in the 2000 New Year's Honours list.

Catrin Finch - Grand Final judge (photo:David Hiscock)

Catrin Finch

Former Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster

Orchestrator and conductor for Doctor Who.

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