Classical violinist breaks UK Top Twenty

Classical violinist breaks UK Top Twenty


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2014

Nicky Benedetti tonight became the first concert violinist to enter the pop charts since the classical phony Vanessa Mae in 1995 and Nigel Kennedy in 1989. Well done, her.

nicola benedetti


press release:

Nicola Benedetti becomes the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Albums Chart with her new record Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy, released this week on Decca Classics.  She is also the first ever Scottish classical artist to enter the Top 20.

As well as landing the No. 1 spot in the classical chart, her album is simultaneously No. 19 in the pop chart, above Ellie Goulding, Arctic Monkeys and Jack White.  It is the first time a solo British violinist has scored a top 20 album since Vanessa Mae in 1995 and Nigel Kennedy in 1989.

Nicola Benedetti says:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to have reached the Top 20, not something a classical artist ever expects. This is a deeply personal recording – inspired by Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy the project took me deep into the heart of Scottish culture. I hope the music, in all its diversity, is providing some uplift and pleasure.’

It has also been announced today that Nicola Benedetti will perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games along with other Scottish stars including Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle, Amy MacDonald and Julie Fowlis.

Nicola’s new album is her highest-charting yet, following her 2013 release The Silver Violin which reached No. 32 in the Official Album Chart.  This latest milestone comes 10 years since the Scottish-born musician won the BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 16.

This achievement adds to her MBE in 2013 (for her extensive educational and charity work), eight honorary degrees, and being named in Britain’s Top 30: The Young Female Power List (The Times, Feb 2014) alongside the likes of Adele, Emma Watson and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy is a unique combination of classical, folk and song traditions.  Remarkably, Nicola’s feat means Scottish Fantasy, a piece of classical music written in 1880 by the German romantic composer Max Bruch, now sits in the pop chart alongside the likes of Pharrell Williams and London Grammar.  The recording also includes some of Scotland’s best loved songs such as Loch Lomond and My Love is Like a Red Red Rose withsome of Scotland’s most eminent folk musicians; Phil Cunningham, Julie Fowlis and Aly Bain. The album was recorded at locations including Glasgow City Halls and Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland.






  • Halldor says:

    And on the evidence of the press release, she performs all these works unaccompanied, apparently…

  • iStrings says:

    well, nothing new these days; she is beautiful and sexy, makes a good show, but there are hundreds of other violinists out there, at least as good as she is.

    • Halldor says:

      But whatever you might think of her appearance or her playing, Ms Benedetti’s work with young musicians – especially through the Big Noise project – has been exemplary and is genuinely inspirational. She’s raised the profile of the art, in a wholly positive way.

  • Katharine says:

    Nice album but it’s not really a classical album apart from the Bruch. Record companies these days are intent on believing that core classical on it’s own will not sell so something has to be packaged up with more cross-over type repertoire to attract the larger market. Benedetti has been doing the talk show trail recently. She was on Lorraine this morning. I do hope that unike Vanessa-Mae she doesn’t become more known for being a “celebrity” than the real musician she actually is. That would be a total shame.