The violinist was rewarded for her ‘outstanding contribution to arts and continued work in making music accessible to young people’

Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti has been awarded an honorary degree by Robert Gordon University Aberdeen ‘for her contribution to transforming the lives of young people through the power of music’, the university said. 

The ceremony, held on 9 March, marked Benedetti’s ‘ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for young people, promoting inclusion and encouraging participation.’

John Harper, RGU principal, said: ‘RGU has a mission to transform people through the provision of a skills rich, professional education. As part of this, the university has a long-standing commitment to widening access, enabling a wide range of individuals to benefit from higher education no matter of background or circumstance.

“This ethos relates closely to the work of Nicola Benedetti, who has made a significant contribution to transforming the lives of young people by increasing access to music to raise potential and build creativity, discipline and skills.’

The RGU press statement paid tribute to Benedetti’s advocacy for quality music education, the role of arts and culture in the wider community and the transformational effect it has on all young people. It reads: ‘She has been committed to education projects since the age of 15 and in the past 12 months, Nicola has worked with over 4,000 students and 700 teachers.’

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It continues: ‘The Benedetti Foundation strives to unite the world of music education through uncovering and sharing its best practices, and celebrating its greatest advocates. It creates explosive, life changing experiences around mass musical events for teachers and young people that are dedicated to music participation on all levels. The Benedetti Foundation is devoted towards pulling together individuals and organisations that too often work in isolation. It also produces a signature series of orchestra-based weekend workshops – The Benedetti Sessions - to address, equally, the needs of young musicians and of teachers.

Benedetti said: ‘I am delighted to be awarded an honorary degree from Robert Gordon University in recognition of the work I do with young people – thank you so much. I have been committed to education work since I was 16 and this is something that has always felt totally natural to me.

‘I believe wholeheartedly that music, if taught well, can provide life-changing experiences for many young people. I feel an increasing responsibility towards an ambassadorial role for quality in a culture dominated by intense commercialism, and I have advocated strongly and loudly for the importance of quality arts in our education system and will continue to do so to with purpose and intensity.’