A TALENTED violinist from Douglas Academy’s Music School won a masterclass with her idol - the world famous virtuouso Nicola Benedetti.
Laura Ayoub (16) was flown down to London’s SARM Studios to play a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin for her prize - but she didn’t realise that she would be joined by the Scottish violinist until she arrived.
She won the competition run by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and online music recording platform, PureSolo, by uploading a recording of herself playing the violin.
When she started playing the Stradivarius - worth £1.2million - her own bow wasn’t making a good sound so Nicola loaned one of hers.
Laura said: “It was amazing - she wanted me to get the best sound because it was being recorded so she let me choose one of her bows.
“I played Schindler’s List and Csardas and Nicola gave me a few helpful tips.
“She is one of my biggest inspirations - I’ve watched her in concerts many times.
“It was so wonderful to meet her, she was really lovely and chatted to me about her career.
“I can’t get over the fact that she took time out of her busy schedule to spend time with me - it was so nice of her.
“The Stradivarius produced such a fantastic sound - it really is worth every penny.”
The teenager had such a hard time downloading her entry into the contest that she almost gave up - and she only managed to submit it the night before the closing date.
It was months later that she heard she’d been successful and by then she’d almost forgotten she had entered.
Laura, who lives in Bearsden with her mother, Hannan, a counsellor, father, Ashraf, a surgeon, and sister Sarah (19) has been playing the violin since she was seven.
She added: “This experience has made me even more determined to go to music school.
“My dream is to become a solo violinist one day and I’d really like to thank my teacher Andrea Gajic as well - she has taught me so much.”
Nicola said: “I was thrilled to meet Laura. She is a talented, wonderful young musician and it was great for both of us to talk about technique and repertoire and share our experiences of studying the violin. I was extremely impressed with her commitment.”