Nicola Benedetti scans the menu, unsure of what to order. The Scottish violinist had some trouble choosing a venue for our lunch, eventually settling on a Vietnamese restaurant close to her west London home. But it doesn’t feel like her local. “I wouldn’t say I’m integrated into my surroundings like I would be if I was here all the time,” she says. “I’m away so much.”

From her many album covers, I am used to seeing Benedetti — or Nicky, as she’s known to friends and colleagues — in sleeveless ball gowns, her long hair loose over one shoulder. Today, she is in jeans and a black V-neck. She flew in from Frankfurt this morning, having just played two concerts there. But if she’s tired, her face betrays no sign of it.

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