Nicola Benedetti & Wynton Marsalis at Saffron Hall

March 6, 2018

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Last weekend, Saffron Hall welcomed star violinist Nicola Benedetti for her first ever recital of unaccompanied music. Benedetti, Saffron Hall’s Artist in Residence this season, supplemented a programme of flawlessly executed Bach and Ysaÿe with a world premiere of a new piece by legendary jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. The new work nearly didn’t make it into the concert, with Benedetti joking on stage that the last-minute completion of Marsalis’ composition meant it was almost cut from the programme entirely!

The concert marked just part of a weekend of music-making for Benedetti, who gave a masterclass for local students from Saffron Centre for Young Musicians on Friday, working one-on-one with SCYM violinist Lauren Barry from Linton Village College and with SCYM’s senior strings ensemble. Attendees of the masterclass also had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing Wynton Marsalis in action, after he gave an unscheduled appearance to coach SCYM jazz trumpeter Owen Lee from Bishop’s Stortford High School for Boys. Marsalis described the young musician as ‘one of the best thirteen-year-olds I have ever heard in my life’ – high praise given that Marsalis himself admitted to having heard ‘thousands’ of musicians over the course of his long and prestigious career.

Benedetti, Marsalis and their respective teams spent the weekend in the town, staying at the Cross Keys and dining at The Restaurant on Church Street. Saturday’s concert was completely sold-out and featured a standing ovation from the audience.

Nicola Benedetti will return to Saffron Hall on 28 May to perform with the Academy of Ancient Music. Click here to find out more.

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