Leading composer defends Benedetti's commitment LAURA ROBERTS
ONE OF Scotland's top composers has publicly leapt to the defence of teenage violinist Nicola Benedetti and criticised the "doubting Thomases" who credit her success simply to her good looks.
James MacMillan described Miss Benedetti, 18, who won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, as "committed and insightful beyond her years". The young Scots violinist has been headlined as a "classical Britney Spears" by critics which she herself has called frustrating.
Mr MacMillan spoke out against what he called premature speculation over Miss Benedetti's present value as a great violinist and whether she would have any lasting impression to make on classical music. The composer, who is from Ayrshire like Miss Benedetti, said that "background chatter" on her youth and beauty is "superfluous and unnecessary".
He praised Miss Benedetti as "utterly serious about her work" despite her young age.
Her achievements to date are impressive. At the age of eight, she led the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland and passed all eight violin grades by her ninth birthday.
Her talent was recognised when she played at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 2004.
That same year, aged 16, she became the first Scot to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year and signed a £1 million, six-album recording contract. She has just launched her second album.