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Violinist Nicola Benedetti Wins the Edinburgh Award

Benedetti is the youngest ever recipient of the prize, which celebrates an outstanding contribution to the city of Edinburgh


Violinist Nicola Benedetti has been named the 2023 Edinburgh Award recipient, in recognition of her service as Director of the Edinburgh International Festival. The award celebrates locals who have made an outstanding contribution to the city at the national or international level.

At 36 years old, Benedetti is also the youngest-ever recipient of the prize. She will receive a cup engraved by the city's Lord Provost, and her handprints will be set into a stone, to be housed at Edinburgh's City Chambers.

Previous recipients of the award include the author J. K. Rowling, the scientist and human rights activist Sir Geoff Palmer, and the painter Dame Elizabeth Blackadder.

Born in Scotland and of Italian heritage, Nicola Benedetti began violin lessons at age four and attended the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Lord Menuhin and Natasha Boyarskaya.

Since then, and especially after winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2004 at age 16, she has toured internationally with many of the world’s top orchestras and artists. In 2017, she was the youngest-ever recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music and has received nine honorary degrees.

She created the Benedetti Foundation to enrich the UK’s education communities through group music training. Its annual Baroque Virtual Sessions is open to musicians of all ages and levels, and specifically targets areas of the UK where high-quality music education experiences are often restricted and under-resourced due to geographical or financial barriers.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Edinburgh Award and humbled to join the incredible list of individuals who have contributed to the cultural fabric of this city," Benedetti said. "I am grateful to the city of Edinburgh for recognizing the importance of the arts and their contribution to our way of life."

"As my journey with Edinburgh International Festival deepens, this award, as well as the support of the people of this city, strengthens my dedication to our mission: to continue to welcome people from all walks of life into our home, and to give them artistic experiences they will never forget," she continued. "Thank you so much."

"I’m delighted that Nicola Benedetti has accepted the decision of the panel and become the latest recipient of the Edinburgh Award," said Robert Aldridge, the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and the chair of the award's panel. "She deservedly follows in the footsteps of some of the finest individuals associated with our great city."

"From heading up one of the world’s most important cultural celebrations in the Edinburgh International Festival, to being a globally renowned musician in her own right, she has represented the capital with pride, dedication, and skill."

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