James MacMillan: From Ayrshire
Strauss: Violin Sonata in E flat, Op. 18
Prokofiev: Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 18
Violinist Nicola Benedetti has captivated audiences and critics alike with her musicality and poise. Hilary Finch recently wrote in The Times, “it was thrilling to hear and watch Nicola Benedetti in a truly risk-taking performance that lived so much in the body and fused the sinews of the violin and the nerve-system of the player”. This sums up Nicola’s ability to communicate and enthrall audiences with dynamic and energy-filled performances.
Throughout her career, Nicola’s desire to perform new works has shown her to be one of Britain’s most innovative and creative young violinists. Nicola’s choice of the Szymanowski Violin Concerto for the BBC Young Musician of the Year, her success in which catapulted her to fame in 2004, was just the beginning of her focus on less-often programmed repertoire and new music. She has recorded newly commissioned works by John Tavener and James Macmillan, has worked on jazz-influenced repertoire with Wynton Marsalis and others, and explored authentic baroque performance. Her performances of all repertoire are influenced by this wide-range of interests and study.
In recent seasons Nicola has performed with almost all of the UK and Ireland’s major symphony orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra and the RTE Orchestra. As word of her immense musicality and ability to reach audiences has spread, she has received invitations to work with a list of international orchestras that include the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, NDR Orchester in Llubjiana, Het Brabants Orkest, the Orchestre de Picardie, KBS Symphony and the Japan Philharmonic. Nicola’s busy schedule has also seen her perform in North America with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and with the Vancouver, Colorado, Phoenix, Toronto and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras.
Nicola has recently performed the Glazunov and Sibelius violin concerti with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Ashkenazy and Segerstam and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra under Pletnev. Performances in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Jakub Hrusa were followed by a tour of the UK in autumn 2009, along with a highly successful debuts at the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen and the Echternach Festival in Luxembourg. She makes her BBC Proms Debut in August 2010, and other future highlights include her debut with the Dallas and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, performances with the orchestras of Montpellier and Pau in France, and a performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto at the Royal Albert Hall.
Nicola has captivated audiences with recitals across Europe and North America, giving performances at the Wigmore Hall; the Sage, Gateshead; Fazoli Concert Hall, Sacile; the Lincoln Center, New York, the Gardner Museum, Boston; and the Terrace Theater in Washington DC.
Nicola performs in chamber music concerts throughout the UK and Europe with her regular trio. Along with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, she has performed at Schloss Elmau and as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the Jersey International Music Festival, and the Thaxted Festival. Nicola has also played chamber music at the Verbier Festival, Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona with Jean Yves Thibaudet, at Lockenhaus and at Prussia Cove.
Winner of the Classical BRIT Award for Young British Classic Performer in 2008 and an exclusive Universal/Deutsche Grammophon artist, Nicola has released four CDs, the most recent featuring works by Sarasate, Fauré, Rachmaninov, Pärt, and Ravel. Nicola’s debut album included Szymanowski, Saint Saëns, Massenet and Brahms with the London symphony Orchestra, followed by a second release featuring works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert and Macmillan with the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields. Nicola’s third album is comprised of newly commissioned works by Tavener and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Nicola has also taken part in many prestigious events, including a performance at Windsor Castle for her Majesty the Queen, at the opening of the Scottish Parliament, the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, and for Comic Relief’s Gala concert “Classic Relief”.
In addition to her performance and recording activities, Nicola has devoted herself to humanitarian and educational causes. Since 2005, she has visited schools throughout the United Kingdom in conjunction with the CLIC Sargent Practice-a-thon, in which she encourages pupils of all ages to pick up their instruments and enjoy classical music. Nicola is also a UNICEF Celebrity Supporter.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. She is currently taking lessons from Pavel Vernikov in Vienna. Nicola plays the Earl Spencer Stradivarius (c 1712), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.
ALEXEI GRYNYUK, piano
Acclaimed by London’s Musical Opinion Magazine for his “breathtaking technical accomplishment and musicianship of the highest order” Grynyuk has been invited to perform at such prestigious festivals as Cervantino (Mexico), Duszniki Chopin Festival (Poland), Kremlin Music (Moscow), Musica Sacra (Maastricht), Newport Music Festival (Rhode Island) and Mannes College International Keyboard Festival (New York). His performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Hessicher Rundfunk (Frankfurt), Bayerischer Rundfunk, Radio France, Ukrainian, Russian and Chinese television.
Later this season upcoming highlights will include recitals at Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, tour of Lithuania, a come-back to the Newport Music Festival, chamber music performanses at the West Cork Festival in Ireland as well as concerto performances with Krakow Philharmonic in Poland, National Symphony of Ukraine and a return apearance with Brighton Philarmonic following last season‘s success described by The Worthing Herald as “… a spell-binding performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5, (The Emperor)… His opening allegro was so full of grace and power that I could sense the audience wanted to break with convention and burst into applause. Grynyuk produced fireworks of his own from his fingertips in the faster passages, but also displayed his sensitive control of the slower moments.”
Alexei started performing at the age of six and studied at the Kiev Conservatoire under Valery Kozlov before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied with Hamish Milne. After being awarded the first prize at the Sergei Diaghilev All-Soviet-Union competition at the age of thirteen Alexei has achieved numerous successes at international piano competitions, most notably first prizes at the Vladimir Horowitz Competition in Kiev and the Shanghai Competition in China.
“…overwhelming with divine purity…majestic… he has captured the audience with a deep musicality…crystal clear and beautiful tone… dignified, beautifully structured performance.” (Chopin Magazine, Tokyo)