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Violinist Nicola Benedetti Reveals Pressures from "Cut-Throat" Music Industry on BBC [AUDIO]

By James Inverne j.inverne@classicalite.com on Jan 12, 2014 08:56 PM EST

How encouraging is the classical music world of bright young talent? Not so much, according to the star British violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Joining various other prominent competition winners, Benedetti, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year title in 2004 and has often been the U.K.'s highest-selling classical musician, has told BBC Radio Four that she was pushed too hard, too fast in the aftermath.

Having won at 16, she told Desert Island Discs: "By the age of 17 or 18 I was going through a very tough time."

As is so often the case in these instances, the engagements flowed fast for Benedetti; the pressure was on to be everywhere at once. Calling the industry "extremely cut-throat" to her at that time, she spoke about how her diary was up to around 110 concerts per year.

For a musician who was inevitably still maturing--personally and musically--it denied her the room she needed.

This is a frequent refrain from competition winners (among them the percussionist Colin Currie), arguably made worse by the industry and media's obsession with new stars.

Many music commentators suggest that the massive financial success of The Three Tenors helped to create that environment, in a classical music industry hungry for quick hits of the same magnitude. In the rush, many forgot that the Three Tenors themselves were each several decades into top-level careers by the time they hit global superstardom.

Benedetti, who is increasingly involved in music education causes, will be hoping that her story inspires today's new talents to be treated with more moderation.

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TagsNicola Benedetti, BBC Young Musician of the Year, Colin Currie, The Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras