Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason


Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason lives in Nottingham and is a former lecturer in English at The University of Birmingham.  Her memoir, House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons, won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Storytelling Award in November 2021 where it was described as ‘a fresh, moving account of raising children and nurturing their creativity.  It captures what’s sincerely human in classical music-making.’  In June 2022 it won the Indie Book Awards prize for Non-Fiction “a joyous celebration of the musical talents of the Kanneh-Mason family, which also serves as a window into issues of race and class in twenty-first century Britain”.  Kadiatu and her husband Stuart were given a Lifetime Award for Contribution to Children’s Arts at the 2018 J.M. Barrie Awards and in February 2022, on behalf of the family, they collected the prestigious ABO Award for commitment and inspiration given to other aspiring young musicians and fellow parents. 

Kadiatu has seven children, all of whom are classical musicians and the family has been the subject of several documentaries. She is “Champion” of Music Mark, on the Board of Trustees for ESTA String Teachers Association, The Nottingham Education Trust, Real Talk TV, Music Masters, the National Children’s Orchestra and MISST – the Andrew Lloyd-Webber charity for music in secondary schools.  She is on the advisory council for the Royal Philharmonic Society, an Honorary Friend of the British and International Federation of Festivals, President of The Nottingham Harmonic Choir and the family is patron to Sinfonia Viva.  

Kadiatu is continuing to write and gives talks, interviews and lectures around the U.K. on diversity in classical music, music education, issues of race and inclusion, literature and parenting.  

Twitter: @KadiatuKM   (updated November 2022)


‘Riveting, taking in prejudice as well as sacrifice. There are 4.30am starts, lost instruments, fractured wrists, all captured with vivid flourishes. A paean to camaraderie.’ Observer

Seven brothers and sisters. All of them classically trained musicians. One was Young Musician of the Year and performed for the royal family. The eldest has released her first album, showcasing the works of Clara Schumann. These siblings don’t come from the rarefied environment of elite music schools, but from a state comprehensive in Nottingham. How did they do it?

Their mother, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. What comes out is a beautiful and heartrending memoir of the power of determination, camaraderie and a lot of hard work. The Kanneh-Masons are a remarkable family. But what truly sparkles in this eloquent memoir is the joyous affirmation that children are a gift and we must do all we can to nurture them.