Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s career and performances span the globe. Whether performing for children in a school hall, at an underground club or in the world’s leading concert venues, Sheku’s mission is to make music accessible to all. After winning the BBC Young Music competition in 2016, Sheku’s performance at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle in 2018 was watched by two billion people worldwide.
Highlights of the 23/24 season include the Last Night of the Proms with the BBC Symphony and Marin Alsop, performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orquesta Nacional de España, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Oslo Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Gävle Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic on tour in Germany, Cincinnati Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Munich Philharmonic. With his sister, Isata, he appears in recital in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea in addition to an extensive European recital tour. Sheku will also perform a series of duo recitals with guitarist Plínio Fernandes as well as continuing his solo cello recital tour in the USA and Canada. He returns to Antigua, where he has family connections, as an ambassador for the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra. Since his debut in 2017, Sheku has performed every summer at the BBC Proms, including in 2020 when he gave a breath-taking recital performance with his sister Isata, to an empty auditorium due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Decca Classics recording artist, his 2022 album, Song, showcases his innately lyrical playing in a wide and varied range of arrangements and collaborations. Sheku’s 2020 album Elgar reached No. 8 in the overall Official UK Album Chart, making him the first ever cellist to reach the UK Top 10. Sheet music collections of his performance repertoire along with his own arrangements and compositions are published by Faber.
Sheku is a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Hannah Roberts and in May 2022 he was appointed as the Academy’s first Menuhin Visiting Professor of Performance Mentoring. He is an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Future Talent, and Music Masters. Sheku was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List. He plays a Matteo Goffriller cello from 1700 which is on indefinite loan to him.
“Sheku’s tone is strong, steady, his command of the line unwavering…the intensity fluctuates as needed, always within as smooth and seamless a line as he can maintain…It’s quite a captivating performance, one that offers convincing proof that Sheku is something special in the cello world.”
“Appearing in his New York Philharmonic debut, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason played Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with joy and effusive emotion. His soulful approach and deep confidence were complemented by seamless shifting, effortless spiccato and lovely pitch…the energy with which he played runs and scalar passages carried the audience along with him as if racing up a mountainside, triumphantly and together…one of his clearest strengths is his deep emotional connection to the music and ability to communicate this tangibly to his audience. His tender moments were intimate and carefully constructed, captivating his listeners, while the remainder was exuberant and played with abandon. The audience rose to its feet in appreciation and celebration after his rousing Finale.”