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Last Updated: Saturday March 19 2005 12:44 GMT

Calling all classical music fans!

Nicola Benedetti
Classicalive - a three-day exhibition of everything and anything from the world of classical music - has been attracting children from across the country.

It was officially opened by 17-year-old violinist Nicola Benedetti, the current BBC Young Musician of the Year.

"There's something here for everyone," she said. "I've been so impressed with all the stands. And the atmosphere is very warm and welcoming."

Classical is often seen as not as appealing to children as other kinds of music. But Nicola, who often tours schools, disagrees.

Trying out the instruments

"A lot of the music that young people listen to is influenced by classical music. A lot of pop producers will tell you that they use samples of classical music all the time, and that link is a really important thing."

Nicola signed a 1m recording deal earlier this year.

Her first album is due to be released on 9 May.

"There's quite a mix of different things on the album," she said.

Making music

And for budding musicians, there's even the chance to play along to one of the pieces yourself, supported by a karaoke-style backing track.

"Anybody can be in their bedroom with the London Symphony Orchestra backing them. I think it will be very encouraging for young musicians to experience something like that."

Nicola is just one of the stars of classical music taking part in Classicalive.

Famous

Visitors also have the chance to hear world famous performers like cello player Julian Lloyd Webber and young singing sensation Hayley Westenra.

One of the stands

Children also have the opportunity to try out different instruments, from pianos to percussion. You can also compose your own music and check out the latest recording equipment.

Classicalive is being held at Olympia in London, and is on until Sunday, 20 March.



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