Teenage Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti topped the nominations for this year's Classical BRIT Awards, which take place at London's Royal Albert Hall on May 3.

Benedetti, 19 years old and signed to Universal Music Group's Deutsche Grammophon, has been nominated in the instrumentalist of the year, album of the year, and young British classical performer categories.

Three of Benedetti's fellow nominees are named in two award categories apiece. Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon (Virgin Classics/EMI) is in the singer of the year and critics' award categories; British bass baritone Bryn Terfel is contending for the album of the year with "Tutto Mozart" (Deutsche Grammophon) and for the critics' award; while U.K. vocal ensemble the Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers, is vying for the classical recording and album of the year awards with "Ikon" (UCJ/Universal).

The Classical BRITs is organized by labels body the British Phongraphic Industry and sponsored by the state-owned bank NS&I (National Savings & Investment). The ceremony will be televised on national commercial channel ITV1 on May 6, hosted by U.K. TV personality Fern Britton.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on veteran British conductor Dr. Vernon Handley. "He has championed British music, especially the works of [Sir Edward] Elgar in the 1970s and, more recently, he worked with the young Nigel Kennedy," said Barry McCann, co-chairman of the Classical BRIT Awards at the nominations ceremony at London's Royal Garden Hotel last night (April 2).

On the night, EMI Classics vocalist Natasha Marsh performed an extract from the opera "La Boheme" with Sony BMG artist Alfie Boe, whose debut set "Classic FM Presents..." has an album of the year nomination.

Six of the event's eight core awards are determined by an industry academy. A panel of classical reviewers from the U.K. media will decide the critics award, while listeners to national commercial radio station Classic FM and readers of its monthly "Classic FM" monthly magazine will vote online at www.classicfm.com for the album of the year award.