Wynton Marsalis and Nicola Benedetti.
In the past few years the San Diego Symphony has welcomed quite a few of the rising generation of violin soloists. We’ve seen Augustin Hadelich, Sarah Chang, Ray Chen, and Karen Gomyo. This weekend Nicola Benedetti plays Symphony Hall and completes the millennial handful.
I don’t know if I need to explain the “millennial handful” reference but in case some millennials are reading this I probably should. There were five Russian composers in the mid-to-late-19th Century: Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov, César Cui, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Mily Balakirev. They were known as the “mighty handful”. Tchaikovsky wasn’t down with it.
Nicola Benedetti at the Proms
There are now five world renowned violinists born in 1980 or later who have played with the San Diego Symphony. I call them the millennial handful. The end.
Nicola Benedetti was born in West Kilbride, Scotland. You weren’t expecting that, where you? Her father is Italian and her mother Scottish. By the time she was eight-years-old, young Nicola was already crushing it as one of the concertmasters for The Children’s National Orchestra of Great Britain.
Benedetti will be performing two quite different pieces of music this weekend. One of them, Scheherazade, is by mighty handful member Rimsky Korsakov. The other is a violin concerto written for her by American composer and performer Wynton Marsalis.
This is it. This is the once chance you’re going to have to hear this music. It’s also a chance to hear it performed by the artist for whom it was written. I don’t often say this but hearing Benedetti play Marsalis' concerto is a can’t miss concert opportunity and will undoubtedly be one of the peak experiences of the season.
The concert is conducted by frequent symphony guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru. Măcelaru workshopped the concerto with Marsalis and Benedetti before it was premiered in 2015 by the London Symphony Orchestra.