Nicola Benedetti, Working in Concert with Wynton Marsalis

One month from today, Nicola Benedetti will be giving the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, co-commissioned for her by Ravinia and that ensemble, along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. On the opening night of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 80th-anniversary residency at Ravinia, she will be performing the American premiere of the work with conductor Cristian Măcelaru (who, coincidentally, will be making his Ravinia debut).

Photos: that’s not to say that the work has long since been finalized and well-rehearsed by Benedetti and the orchestra. In late August she wrote about preparing a workshop of the new concerto, including several pictures of herself working closely with Marsalis and Măcelaru on fine-tuning the performance and the score, just as Joseph Joachim might have worked with Johannes Brahms, or Ferdinand David with Felix Mendelssohn. Benedetti effused,

"This process has already been a life-changing one for me. Wynton always says he writes pieces for people and that it’s a very personal endeavor—taking one look at many of his large-scale compositions will confirm this to be true, but I now have a far better understanding of what the practicality of this means. We have engaged in endless discussions over form, notation, orchestration, and perhaps most of all the limitation and capabilities of the violin. I never imagined I could be so deeply invited into the creation of a piece of music."

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