Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Naissance

4 Avril 1999, England

Biographie

Né à Nottingham le 4 avril 1999 d'un père caribéen de l'île d'Antigua et d'une mère sierra-léonaise, Sheku Kanneh-Mason apprend le violoncelle dès l'âge de six ans, après avoir vu sa soeur Isata Kanneh-Mason en jouer. À force d'exercices, il devient rapidement un virtuose et gagne un premier prix à l'âge de neuf ans et rejoint la section des jeunes élèves de l'Académie royale de musique de Londres. Après une participation à l'émission Britain's Got Talent avec ses frères et soeurs en 2015, il gagne l'année suivante le concours du Jeune musicien de l'année de la BBC. Membre du Chineke! Orchestra, il poursuit sa formation musicale lorsqu'il est signé par le label Decca Classics qui publie son premier album Inspiration, comprenant le Concerto pour violoncelle n°1 de Chostakovitch, l'oeuvre jouée lors du concours de la BBC. Paru en janvier 2018, l'album se classe n°11 des ventes globales et n°1 des ventes de musique classique avec deux millions et demi d'écoutes. Le violoniste invité à jouer au mariage du prince Harry et de la princesse Megan Markle se produit quelques mois plus tard au Variety Royal Performance et remporte le prix du musicien de l'année aux Classic BRIT Awards. Élevé au rang de Membre de l'Ordre de l'Empire britannique (MBE) à 20 ans, Sheku Kanneh-Mason sort son deuxième album en janvier 2019. Intitulé Elgar, celui-ci comprend le Concerto pour violoncelle en mi mineur, Op. 85 du compositeur britannique et d'autres pièces, sous la direction de Simon Rattle à la tête du London Symphony Orchestra.

Winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award at the age of 17 in 2016 changed the life of Sheku Kanneh-Mason and set him on the road to becoming one of the world's most exciting young cellists, not least for his unlikely arrangements of material like Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry'. He even became the subject of a TV documentary 'Young, Gifted & Classical: The Making of a Maestro' which added to his already high profile, leading up to the release of his first recording, a three-track EP that included Casal's 'Song of the Birds', Bloch's 'Abodah' and Fauré's 'Après un Rêve'.

From a musical family and attending a state school in Nottingham, England, his first instrument was the violin but, wanting to outdo his brother who also played violin, he turned to the cello instead because it was bigger. Winning a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Music he was tutored by Ben Davies and spent a lot of time travelling backwards and forwards to London where Chi-chi Nwanoku, founder of the Chineke Orchestra, saw him playing a concert with his sister Isata and brother Braimah and invited them to join.

In 2015 he and his siblings entered the 'Britain's Got Talent' TV show performing as the Kanneh-Masons and, although they didn't win, Sheku said he'd gained valuable experience which stood him in good stead for the BBC Young Musician competition a year later, becoming the contest's first black winner in its 38-year history by playing Shostakovich's 'Cello Concerto No. 1'. He subsequently signed a record deal with Decca Classics on a Nottingham City transport bus which was then named after him and went on to perform at London's Royal Albert Hall at the 2017 British Academy Film Awards.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved