Venice Baroque Orchestra wins"Concert Recording of the Year" at 2015 Echo Klassik Awards
Benedetti’s trademark is her tone: sweet and clear in the upper register, honeyed in mid-range, and velvety in her low notes.” Classical Voice America
Venice Baroque Orchestra with Nicola Benedetti, violin
February 14, 2017, 7:30pm
Cabell Hall Auditorium, University of Virginia
Principal Underwriter: Vesta Lee Gordon
Galuppi Concerto a quattro No. 2 in G Major
Avison Concerto grosso No. 8 in E minor, after Scarlatti
Geminiani Concerto grosso for strings in D minor, "La Follia"
Vivaldi Concerto in D Major for violin, strings and basso continuo
Vivaldi THE FOUR SEASONS
VENICE BAROQUE ORCHESTRA
Founded in 1997 by Baroque scholar and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon, the Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized as one of the very finest period instrument ensembles. The Orchestra receives wide critical acclaim for its concert and opera performances throughout North America, Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China. The Orchestra has appeared in many more cities across the United States than any other Baroque orchestra in history. They also maintain the most frequent touring schedule to Asia.
Committed to the rediscovery of 17th- and 18th-century masterpieces, under Mr. Marcon’s leadership VBO has given the modern-day premieres of Francesco Cavalli’s L’Orione, Vivaldi’s Atenaide, Andromeda liberata, Benedetto Marcello’s La morte d’Adone and Il trionfo della poesia e della musica, and Boccherini’s La Clementina. With Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Orchestra has staged Cimarosa’s L’Olimpiade, Handel’s Siroe, and Galuppi’s L’Olimpiade, and reprised Siroe at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in its first full staging in the United States.
Highlights of the 2014-15 season included concerts with mandolinist Avi Avital in Italy, Croatia, Germany, Mexico, and a twelve-concert tour of the United States and Canada; performances with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux in Paris, and with contralto Sonia Prina in Moscow and St. Petersburg; a first collaboration with violinist Nicola Benedetti in Baden-Baden, and a performance in the Frauenkirche with soprano Karina Gauvin for the Dresden Music Festival.
The Orchestra has been seen worldwide through several television specials, including films by the BBC, ARTE, NTR (Netherlands), and NHK. They are the subject of three recent video recordings, and their performances were also featured on Swiss TV in the documentary film by Richard Dindo, Vivaldi in Venice.
The 2013-14 season featured extensive tours of Europe, the United States and Asia with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky; concerts with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux in France and Belgium, performances with cellist Gautier Capuçon including Vienna’s Musikverein and with cellist Mario Brunello in the US; with recorder player Maurice Steger in Germany and Switzerland, and with violinist Giuliano Carmignola in Austria, Germany, and Hungary. Highlights of 2011 to 2013 included a United States tour of the Orchestra’s Baroque concertos program featuring internal soloists; Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater and Gloria at the Brugge Concertgebouw; concerts in Lisbon and France with soprano Patricia Petibon; performances of Metastasio’s L’Olimpiade in London, Dijon, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Siena; performances with Mr. Carmignola at the Enescu, Gstaad and Dubrovnik festivals; with recorder player Anna Fusek in the Czech Republic, in Italy and Russia with mezzo-soprano Romina Basso, and a tour with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená including the Istanbul Festival and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
Highly unusual for a Baroque ensemble, the VBO premiered a major contemporary work in the US, Philip Glass’s violin concerto The American Four Seasons. With violinist Robert McDuffie the Orchestra appeared in 28 cities across the continent in 2010. Additional highlights of past seasons included several tours of Japan and Korea with Mr. Carmignola; Vivaldi’s La senna festeggiante at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at Théâtre des Champs Elysées with soprano Veronica Cangemi and contralto Sara Mingardo; Monteverdi’s Vespers in Leipzig, and a festivals tour in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland with Ms. Kožená.
The Orchestra’s latest recording, of Vivaldi concertos with Avi Avital, was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2015. Their previous release, featuring Philippe Jaroussky in Porpora arias on the Erato label, received a Grammy nomination. Their 2012 release on Naïve, a pasticcio of Metastasio’s L’Olimpiade featuring the recording premieres of many 18th-century opera arias, was awarded Choc du Monde de la Musique. The VBO has an extensive discography with Sony and Deutsche Grammophon. Their world-premiere recording of Andromeda liberata for DG was followed by violin concertos with Mr. Carmignola; Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos for strings; Vivaldi motets and arias with soprano Simone Kermes, two discs with Ms. Kožená—Handel arias and Vivaldi arias; Vivaldi violin concertos with Viktoria Mullova and Mr. Carmignola, and Italian arias with Ms. Petibon. The Orchestra’s earlier discography on Sony with Mr. Carmignola includes The Four Seasons, previously unrecorded Vivaldi concertos, and a collection of Bach arias featuring Angelika Kirchschlager. The Orchestra has also been honored with the Diapason d’Or, Echo Award, and the Edison Award.
The Venice Baroque Orchestra is supported by Fondazione Cassamarca in Treviso.
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.
With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Nicola begins the 15/16 season by embarking on a tour of the U.K.’s leading concert halls performing a personally curated program together with a specially formed ensemble. The program features Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the world premiere of a work by Mark-Anthony Turnage written for her and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich. The commissioning of new works continues with the highly anticipated world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra written especially for Nicola.
Further concerto performances include engagements with the Israel Philharmonic, Verdi Orchestra Milano, RSO Stuttgart, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This season will also see Nicola continuing her passion for music of the Italian Baroque and historical performance realized in collaborations with Andrea Marcon with the Manchester Camerata and WDR Cologne.
Most recently Nicola enjoyed collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, WDR Cologne, Camerata Salzburg, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, La Cetra Barockorchester, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Capitole du Toulouse, Toronto Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Melbourne Symphony.
Conductors whom Nicola has worked and will work with include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiri Bělohlávek, Stéphane Denève, Christoph Eschenbach, James Gaffigan, Hans Graf, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hrusa, Kirill Karabits, Louis Langrée, Andrew Litton, Kristjan Järvi, Neeme Jaarvi, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Cristian Măcelaru, Andrea Marcon, Sir Neville Marriner, Diego Matheuz, Peter Oundjian, Vasily Petrenko, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Sondergard, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Krzysztof Urbanski, Juraj Valcua, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaap van Zweden.
With her regular duo partner, pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola frequently performs recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals with most recent and future highlights including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rome, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, Bielefeld and Kiel. Nicola is also a devoted chamber musician and collaborates with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, who have been performing as a trio since 2008. Recent and future performances include St John’s Smith Square in London, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh Usher Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, LSO St. Luke’s, Frankfurt AlteOper, Die Glocke Bremen, Hong Kong City Hall, two tours of South America, and at the Edinburgh, Ravinia, Schloss Elmau, Engadin Festival and Cheltenham Festivals.
Fiercely committed to music education and to developing young talent, Nicola has formed associations with education establishments including schools, music colleges and local authorities. In 2010, she became Sistema Scotland’s official musical ‘Big Sister’ for the Big Noise project; a music initiative partnered with Venezuela’s El Sistema (Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar). As a board member and teacher, Nicola embraces her position of role model to encourage young people to take up music and work hard at it, and she continues to spread this message in school visits and masterclasses, not only in Scotland, but all around the world.
In addition, Nicola recently developed her own education and outreach initiative entitled The Benedetti Sessions. Established in March 2013 at Glasgow’s City Halls, these sessions give hundreds of aspiring young string players the opportunity to rehearse, undertake and observe masterclasses culminating in a performance alongside Nicola. She has also presented The Benedetti Sessions at the Royal Albert Hall and Cheltenham Festival and has plans to develop this exciting initiative on an international scale.
Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). The enormous success of Nicola’s most recent recording, Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official U.K. Albums Chart. The Silver Violin also enjoyed a similar success in reaching No. 30 in the U.K. Albums Chart, simultaneously topping the classical charts. Her past six recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works including the Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding), newly commissioned works by Tavener and The Lark Ascending (London Philharmonic/Andrew Litton), a disc of virtuosic works (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/VasilyPetrenko), Tchaikovsky and Bruch Concerti (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Jakub Hrusa) and most recently Vivaldi, Tartini and Veracini Concerti (Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Christian Curnyn).
Nicola attracts an enormous amount of worldwide media attention following the various facets of her extraordinary career and her international television appearances have been wide and varied including performing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to a live audience of approximately 40,000 and TV viewing audience of 9.4 million people.
Nicola was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honors, in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, Nicola has received eight honorary degrees to date.
Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola began violin lessons at the age of five with Brenda Smith. In 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. Upon leaving, she continued her studies with Maciej Rakowski and then Pavel Vernikov, and continues to work with multiple acclaimed teachers and performers.
Nicola plays the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.