Sheku is already in great demand from major orchestras and concert halls worldwide. He became a household name in 2018 after performing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle, his performance having been greeted with universal excitement after being watched by nearly two billion people globally. Sheku initially garnered renown as the winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, and subsequently became a Decca Classics recording artist. His latest album, Song, showcases his lyrical playing with a wide selection of arrangements and collaborations. Sheku’s 2020 album Elgar reached No. 8 in the main UK Official 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
In the 22/23 season, Sheku appears as Artist in Residence with the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing three concerti across the year in addition to chamber music and giving educational workshops. He also performs with orchestras such as the London Mozart Players, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Camerata Salzburg, Hallé Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In the Americas, Sheku features as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Boston Symphony, São Paulo Symphony, and on tour with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He also performs his first solo cello recital programme in venues such as Wigmore Hall London, National Concert Hall
Dublin, Palau de la Música Catalana Barcelona, Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, Musée du Louvre Paris, and De Doelen Rotterdam and returns to the Dortmund Konzerthaus as one of their Junge Wilde artists.
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. He was selected to appear in the coveted role as guest soloist at the 2022 Last Night of the Proms
with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Hannah Roberts, Sheku was appointed in May 2022 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 recorded Elgar’s Cello Concerto at Abbey Road Studios (famously opened by Elgar himself in 1931) with the internationally-renowned London Symphony Orchestra and its celebrated Music Director, conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
Described by The Times as, “The world’s new favourite cellist”, and by TIME magazine as a “champion of classical music”, Sheku was inspired to learn the cello after hearing Elgar’s Cello Concerto when he was aged eight or nine. His family owned a CD of the legendary 1965 recording by Jacqueline du Pré which Sheku said “directly connected with [his] emotions”. Now aged 20, he has performed the piece many times with orchestras around the world – including a televised BBC Prom at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August, where he was praised for his “poised” (Telegraph) and “introspective” (Financial Times) performance.
For his latest album Sheku uses Elgar’s iconic work as a lens through which to explore the wider musical landscape of pre-and post-war Europe. New arrangements of Elgar’s powerful and ubiquitously British ‘Nimrod’ from his Enigma Variations, and ‘Romance In D Minor’ are also featured on his new album. Sheku recorded many of the chamber works alongside his cello friends and colleagues, as well as his brother Braimah Kanneh-Mason who plays violin on Bloch’s ‘Prayer’.