Benedetti award is music to student's ears

Virtuoso violinist Nicola Benedetti is backing a scholarship that will help a student further her study of Italian literature.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti in the Playfair Library

The Scots-born classical music star, who is proud of her Italian heritage, is a patron of a University of Edinburgh scheme to provide scholarships for postgraduate Italian Studies students.

Susanna Grazzini, from Siena in Italy, is to study the work of the acclaimed Italian writer Carlo Emilio Gadda at Edinburgh under the scholarship scheme.

Gadda is considered to be Italy's greatest modernist writer, and the University of Edinburgh is the world’s leading centre for the promotion of Gadda studies.

Scholarship fund

The Nicola Benedetti Scholarship Fund supports students who otherwise may not have the chance to take part in Italian Studies at Edinburgh. Susanna is the fourth student to receive a scholarship.

Susanna was one of eight leading literature students invited to submit a piece of work about an aspect of Gadda’s writing. Hers was judged to be the best entry.

Susanna, who this year graduated from the University of Siena, collected her scholarship award at a ceremony in the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

At the same ceremony, the results of the Gadda Prize essay competition - open to Scottish secondary pupils who are studying Italian - were announced.

The writers of the three best essays have been invited to attend a two-day Gadda conference next summer at Montecassino, south of Rome, where Nicola Benedetti will play.

This project showcases what’s strongest about education. It mobilises people to achieve their best.

Nicola BenedettiVirtuoso violinist

British Premiere

The Traverse event also featured the British premiere of an award-winning Italian show, Gadda goes to war.

The play, created by celebrated Italian actor Fabrizio Gifuni, is based on Gadda’s First World War diaries.

A further highlight was the award of a £40,000 grant from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland to help set up a research centre - the first of its kind - for the study of Italian migration to Scotland.

The centre, which will be based at the University, will explore Italian migration to Scotland through a variety of projects, including a documentary about the last surviving Scottish-Italians to have lived through the Second World War.