Nicola Benedetti is back in the AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert!

On 1 October, Nicola Benedetti will demonstrate how Karol Szymanowski's sometimes mysterious and sometimes extremely difficult Second Violin Concerto can sound like child's play. You are bound to be on the edge of your TivoliVredenburg seat for twenty minutes.

If you play Karol Szymanowski's First Violin Concerto at 14 and win the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition two years later, you are no ordinary violinist. Another would choose, say, Mendelssohn, Paganini or Sibelius to win a competition.

Nicola Benedetti -c-Simon Fowler

Nicola comes from a Scottish-Italian family. She and her sister Stephanie are the only musicians in the family. From the age of ten, she studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, with Menuhin himself and others. Of course, she also plays the famous concertos for her instrument. But next to Tchaikovsky is John Tavener, next to Mozart is James MacMillan, and Wynton Marsalis composed his especially for her. And it works. Millions of CDs left the shops, the Marsalis CD from 2019 received a Grammy, and in 2012 Benedetti even topped the popular charts in the UK with her album 'The Silver Violin' (which includes Korngold's violin concerto).

Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto
Benedetti also has Karol Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto on his repertoire. Unfortunately, this concerto is somewhat less well-known than the First. It seems - wrongly - less complex, sometimes has playful, folksy melodies, sometimes magnificent orchestral colours. The Pole Szymanowski wrote it in 1932-1933 for his famous fellow-countryman Paweł Kochański (who formed a duo with pianist Artur Rubinstein). What is certain is that the tone and naturalness of Nicola Benedetti's playing will take your breath away for twenty minutes (Joy is literally her second name). That is what she also says to young people when she teaches in schools: "There are few places in life where so much focus is possible - that is not something to get bored about, but something to marvel at. When you're young, you have plenty of time to party and run around, but this [listening to music] can be something of a ritual experience."

Music should simply have a permanent place in the school curriculum, believes Nicola Benedetti. To instil in everyone the importance of making and listening to music, she worked with over 2,000 young people and 500 teachers in 2019. She supports the Scottish version of El Sistema and founded The Benedetti Foudation. With this she has been organising workshops in a string orchestra setting, among other things, since early 2020. In corona time, a lot went online - but necessity makes virtue: never was it possible to work in such detail on posture, playing technique and interpretation! Our chief conductor (and violinist) Karina Canellakis also participated in these digital sessions last year.


AVROTROS Friday Concert 1 October 2021, 8.15pm
TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht

live on NPO Radio 4

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Karina Canellakis conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

Keuris Arcade
Szymanowski Second Violin Concerto
Schumann Third Symphony 'Rheinische

Order tickets for this concert here.

Nicola Benedetti has played in the AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert / De Vrijdag van Vredenburg twice before: Szymanowski's First Violin Concerto (2011) and Korngold's Violin Concerto (2012).

Watch here an online conversation between Nicola Benedetti and Karina Kanellakis

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