The ISM President has honoured violinist Nicola Benedetti with the ISM’s ‘Distinguished Musician Award’ (DMA).

Each year the ISM, which was set up in 1882 to support musicians and promote music, awards one DMA. This year the DMA has gone to ‘extraordinary and inspirational musician’ Nicola Benedetti.

The Award was established by the ISM in 1976 to recognise the outstanding contribution that an individual has made to musical life in the UK. It is one of the highest honours within the music industry. The award is made by the ISM Council, the governing body of the ISM, which is entirely made up of ISM members from across the UK.

Nicola joins such esteemed recipients as Errollyn Wallen CBE, Dame Sarah Connolly, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Michael Tippett, Jacqueline du Pré OBE and Sir Charles Groves.

About Nicola Benedetti CBE

Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and spirited 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.

Nicola tours internationally with some of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors. Nicola begins her 2022-2023 season with a performance of the Marsalis Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the BBC Proms and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Kazuki Yamada and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Further engagements include the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, a tour to Japan with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, DSO Berlin, St Louis Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and Orchestre de Paris amongst others.

Nicola champions the commissioning of new works which has recently included Mark Simpson’s critically acclaimed Violin Concerto, written for Nicola with the London Symphony Orchestra, and Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto which won a GRAMMY Award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” in 2020. Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music) and her recording catalogue includes works from Shostakovich and Glazunov Violin Concerti, the Szymanowski Concerti (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) to Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, which made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Album Chart.

In 2019, Nicola formalised her commitment to music in education when she established The Benedetti Foundation. Since its launch, the Foundation has worked with over 29,000 participants, age 2-92, from 103 countries through its transformative in-person workshops and online sessions for young people, students, teachers and adults. The Foundation unites those who believe that music is integral to a great education and demonstrates ground-breaking teaching by producing and delivering innovative and creative musical experiences accessible to all.

In March this year, Nicola became the Director Designate of the Edinburgh International Festival, taking up the role in October 2022. Nicola was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours list and awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2017, the youngest ever recipient. Today she becomes the recipient of the Distinguished Musician Award.


On receiving the award, Nicola Benedetti said, ‘It is such an honour to receive this award from the ISM and to join such esteemed company in the list of previous recipients. I’d like to wholeheartedly thank ISM for all the work it does on behalf of the classical music sector. It goes without saying that it has been a very challenging few years and they have fought tirelessly, particularly for freelancers who have had such a difficult time, and continue to fight for our sector to be heard and to help it to thrive. Thank you for everything you do and for giving me with this award.’

ISM President Vick Bain said, ‘I am delighted to present the ISM’s Distinguished Musician Award to Nicola Benedetti CBE. Nicola is an extraordinary and inspirational musician who has helped attract a new audience to classical music and is a role model to so many aspiring musicians, particularly young women and girls.

We all remember Nicola winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004 and she has continued to perform at the very highest level and break new barriers ever since.

Nicola has achieved so much in her career to date and at such a young age. Nicola has worked with some of the most accomplished orchestras, championed new music and helped to bring classical music to life for millions. We are grateful too for her leadership in and advocacy for music education.

Each year the ISM awards one DMA a year and there is no musician more deserving than Nicola Benedetti.

We cannot wait to see where her career goes from here, and as she takes on new challenges and pushes boundaries, Nicola will have our full support. The ISM would like to say thank you for everything you have done for music and for music education.’