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A group of young string players were lucky enough to meet world-famous violinist Nicola Benedetti face-to-face before her concert with Bath Philharmonia at The Forum on Thursday.

The group are part of Bath Strings Academy, a new music school which provides workshops and courses aimed at nurturing a love of music and promoting excellence in string playing. Founders Ruth O’Shea and Michelle Falcon arranged the trip to meet the acclaimed violinist, knowing what a difference it can make to students to meet a musician of her calibre in person.

“My parents took me to meet violinist Itzhak Perlman when I was nine years old, and afterwards I felt completely different about playing the violin, as if a little bit of his magic might have rubbed off on me,” recalled Ruth.

Michelle agreed, adding, “We want to inspire our students, and meeting Nicola certainly did that. She is such a warm and down-to-earth person, and she offered some great advice to our young people about playing, especially with regards to always thinking about the bigger picture.

“Benedetti advised the students to remember that the people you’re playing to are not robots, they’re human beings and they want you to make them smile.”

After seeing Benedetti perform a concerto by Elgar, Imogen (aged 11), said “Oh my goodness, that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and heard. Wow!”