Main content

Nicola Benedetti

Kirsty Young talks to violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the violinist, Nicola Benedetti.

She had her first violin lesson at the age of four, and by the age of eight, she was leading the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland. By the grand old age of ten she was boarding at the Yehudi Menuhin School and receiving lessons from the great man himself.

Her big break came when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition - the first Scot to win it. Lucrative recording contracts followed together with a hectic programme of concerts. Still only 26, she is now world-renowned as a soloist and chamber musician.

Of Italian descent, her family wasn't particularly musical though the qualities of discipline, hard work and perseverance meant that fun & freedom came after music practice. Passionate about the importance of classical music in education, she walks the talk, committed to developing young musical talent through charity work and masterclasses & she received an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen for these services in 2013.

She says, "when I teach seven year olds and they can play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, I say 'that's amazing! Well Done!' And then occasionally Mum would remind me "do you remember what you were playing at that age?"

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 17 Jan 2014 09:00

Music Played

  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony No.8 in C Minor - 3rd movement

    Performer: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Yevgeny Mravinsky.
    • Shostakovich: Symphony No.8.
    • Philips.
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold

    Mariettas Lied from Die Tote Stadt

    Performer: Renée Fleming. Performer: English Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Jeffrey Tate.
    • By Request.
    • Decca.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Beethoven Trio the Archduke - 3rd movement.

    Performer: Nicola Benedetti. Performer: Leonard Elschenbroich. Performer: Alexei Grynyuk.
    • live BBC Radio 3 recording from the Cheltenham Festival 2013.
  • Aretha Franklin

    Son of a Preacher Man

    • The Very Best of Aretha Franklin.
    • BMG.
  • Richard Wagner

    Prelude to Tristan and Isolde

    Performer: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Georg Solti.
    • Wagner: Overtures, Prelude and Liebestod.
    • Decca.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Sonata for Cello and Piano - 3rd movement - Andante

    Performer: Leonard Elschenbroich. Performer: Alexei Grynyuk.
    • Rachmaninov.Shostakovich – Leonard Elschenbroich...
    • Onyx.
  • Wynton Marsalis

    The 12th movment from All Rise

    Performer: Wynton Marsalis. Performer: The Paul Smith Singers. Performer: The Northridge singers of California State University. Performer: Morgan State University Choir. Performer: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Performer: Los Angeles Philharmonic. Performer: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
    • All Rise.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      Symphony No.9 - final movement

      Performer: Leonard Bernstein. Performer: New York Philharmonic. Performer: Julliard Chorus.
      • Symphony No.9.
      • Sony Classical.
  • Book Choice

    • Long Walk to Freedom - her personal copy - Nelson Mandela

  • Luxury Choice

    • Violin in its case with some pieces of sheet music

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Nicola Benedetti
Producer Cathy Drysdale

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast