The Diary: Lizzie has plenty of strings to her bow

Lizzie Ball
Lizzie Ball
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As mega star musicians go, they are a diverse bunch – Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Mick Hucknall, Nigel Kennedy and Jeff Beck.

But this unusual collection of household names, from millionaire rapper to classical virtuoso, all have one thing in common: they have worked with a little- known Hathersage violinist.

Lizzie Ball, who grew up in Back Lane, has performed on the world’s most famous stages with music’s biggest names. Last month she was handpicked by legendary guitarist Jeff Beck to accompany him in front of 15,000 people at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Now the 32-year-old starlet has announced a somewhat more intimate gig. She will return to her roots with a special concert at Hathersage Gala.

“How will it compare?” she ponders. “I’m so excited. I’m bringing a full band. It will be a knees up.”

Other achievements in her decade as a pro include becoming Nigel Kennedy’s concertmaster and performing at the Brit Awards with Kayne West. She has also released three albums with her own group, Classico Latino and runs her own night, at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.

Not bad for a girl whose own mother was somewhat perturbed when she announced she wanted to take up the instrument at just seven years old.

“Violins can make a horrible noise,” explains Lizzie. “I think mum was worried about having to put up with that.”

The former Lady Manners School pupil can’t remember what inspired her decision to take it up but she does recall having an epiphany at 13, that it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. “Until then I’d thought about being a vet,” she says. “I just remember thinking I could make something of this.”

And so she did.

As a teenager she led the City Of Sheffield Youth Orchestra and was one quarter of The Pennine Players, whose list of shows included one at London’s Albert Hall.

She studied music at Cambridge University; followed that with two years at London’s Royal College Of Music; and then, at 22, went straight on tour with Simply Red as part of a 12-piece orchestra.

After that? She’s been playing and performing, touring and recording since. And now that gig in Hathersage in aid of the British Legion? “There are so many people back home who have supported me over the years,” she says. “This is a way of thanking them.”

Takes place Sportsfield Gala Marquee on July 9. Tickets £15 on 01433 650104.