CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Cello
Isata Kanneh-Mason, Piano
Part of: Distinctive Debuts
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Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Cello
NY Recital Debut
Isata Kanneh-Mason, Piano
BEETHOVEN Twelve Variations on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen," Op. 66
BARBER Cello Sonata, Op. 6
RACHMANINOFF Cello Sonata in G Minor
Distinctive Debuts is supported by endowment gifts from The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, became a household name worldwide in May 2018 after performing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. His debut recording for Decca Classics, Inspiration, featured Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Also featured on the album was Sheku’s own arrangement of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” which was streamed on Spotify more than one million times in the month after its release. That same year, Sheku was named Male Artist of the Year and Critics’ Choice at the Classic BRIT Awards. He also became the first artist to receive the BRIT Certified Breakthrough Award, having sold more than 30,000 copies of his debut album in the UK and surpassing 100,000 album sales worldwide.
Sheku has already performed with international orchestras, including debuts with the Seattle Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. He also performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in his hometown of Nottingham. In 2017, Sheku made his BBC Proms debut at Royal Albert Hall as soloist with the Chineke! Orchestra.
This season, Sheku performs with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and makes debuts with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among others. Recital appearances include debuts at the Barbican Centre’s Milton Court, Wigmore Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, and Lucerne Festival, as well as a major North American tour that includes concerts in Boston, Los Angeles, and Berkeley.
Sheku is passionate about the importance of making classical music accessible to all and is currently the first London Music Masters Junior Ambassador. Last season, he began a two-year role as Young Artist in Residence at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, where he is also involved in the orchestra’s education program.
Sheku is currently a full-time student at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studies with Hannah Roberts. As a chamber musician, he is one-third of the Kanneh-Mason Trio alongside his sister, Isata, and brother, Braimah. Sheku plays an Antonius and Hieronymus Amati cello, circa 1610, kindly on loan from a private collection.
Isata Kanneh-Mason’s debut album, Romance, drew popular and critical acclaim, including praise from Gramophone magazine as “one of the most charming and engaging debuts.” Isata recorded the all–Clara Schumann disc for Decca Classics to mark the composer-pianist’s 200th birthday, selecting works from across her compositional output. In addition to solo piano works, Isata performed chamber music with violinist Elena Urioste and the composer’s Piano Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Holly Mathieson.
While continuing her postgraduate studies with Carole Presland at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Isata has embarked on a successful and increasingly busy concert career, with solo recitals, chamber concerts, and concerto appearances across the UK and abroad, including her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall. Her festival appearances include the Barbican Centre’s Sound Unbound, Colour of Music in South Carolina, Snape Proms, Musikfestspiele Saar, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, and Bath.
Isata also continues to perform with her siblings, including frequent duo recitals with her brother, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Highlights this season include a tour of Italy; appearances at Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and the Rheingau and Edinburgh festivals; and an extensive North American tour that includes a return to the Vancouver Recital Society.
Isata completed her undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music as an Elton John Scholarship recipient. In 2013, she performed with Sir Elton in Los Angeles. The following year, she reached her category final in the BBC Young Musician competition, winning the Walter Todds Bursary. Her performances have since been featured on television and radio broadcasts across the UK and in the US, including CBS Sunday Morning.
Isata is grateful for support from the Nottingham Soroptimist Trust, Mr. and Mrs. John Bryden, Frank White, and Awards for Young Musicians.