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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 May, 2004, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Violinist, 16, wins musical title
Nicola Benedetti
Nicola Benedetti practises seven hours a day
A 16-year-old violinist has won the 26th Young Musician of the Year.

Nicola Benedetti from West Kilbride, Ayrshire, scooped the coveted title for her stunning performance of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No 1.

She triumphed over four other finalists at Edinburgh's Usher Hall and became the first Scot to win the competition.

Nicola began playing the violin at the age of four and left school aged 10 to attend the Yehudi Menuhin School for gifted musicians in Surrey.

Record deal

By the age of eight she was leading the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland. She is believed to practise for around seven hours a day.

It was reported last month that several record companies have offered her a deal worth more than 1m.

Dressed in a floor-length ivory gown, the teenager shook her head and covered her face when the result was announced.

Then she smiled and waved to her family and friends in the audience before accepting the award from the Duchess of Kent.

Announcing the judges' decision, chairman of the seven-member panel actor John Sessions said: "I have had the most extraordinary, humbling afternoon.

I thought I was going to be shaking but I was fine
Nicola Benedetti

"To have seen the work of these young people this afternoon is quite astonishing - the combination of dedication, flair and application.

"This has been an extraordinary year. The musicianship has been extremely high.

"A great performance is always inspiring, whatever the field, and today we have been fortunate enough to witness five great performances from five outstanding musicians," he added.

Speaking before the result Nicola said she was far less nervous than she had anticipated.

"I thought I was going to be shaking but I was fine. I think I got rid of most of my nerves last night when I was really nervous but today I was OK."

Nicholas Kenyon, controller of the BBC Proms and classical music TV said: the competition gave the audience "a wonderful chance to see tomorrow's classical music stars at the beginning of their careers."

The other young competitors, each the winner of their own particular section, were:

Percussionist Lucy Beeson, 17, from Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Eleven-year-old prodigy Benjamin Grosvenor, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, who would have been the youngest winner ever if he had triumphed with his performance of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major.

Daniel de Gruchy-Lambert, 15, of Machen, south Wales, who played Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto in A-Flat Major.

Sixteen-year-old flautist Adam Walker, from Retford, Notts.

Nicola Benedetti, Young Musician of the Year, 2004
"I had no idea what to expect...I was just looking forward to the performance"

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