Sheku Kanneh-Mason Joins Major New York Charity Gala


The children's monologues

One of the brightest stars in classical music, teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, has today joined the line-up for a major charity gala in New York, just days after he finished recording his debut album ‘Inspiration’ – due for release on Decca Classics, 26th January 2018.

Making his Carnegie Hall debut in ‘The Children’s Monologues’ – a one-night-only theatrical event directed by Oscar-winning Danny Boyle and appearing alongside Hollywood A-listers including Catherine Zeta-Jones, James McAvoy, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, Ewan McGregor, Sienna Miller and Susan Sarandon, Sheku will perform Bloch’s Abodah as part of the show.

Since winning BBC Young Musician 2016 – performing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at the BAFTAs in front of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, playing at 10 Downing Street as part of the 30th Anniversary of Black History Month, and making his BBC Proms debut as a soloist with Chineke! – Europe’s first majority BME (black and minority ethnic) orchestra – Sheku has taken it all in his stride whilst completing his A-Levels, graduating from Trinity School in Nottingham and starting his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Sheku’s debut album ‘Inspiration’ is a deeply personal collection of pieces which have inspired him in his career so far. From his school music teacher who first encouraged him to play ‘Evening of Roses’ to the great cellists – Mstislav Rostropovich, Pablo Casals and Jacqueline du Pré – who inspired him to play ‘Tears for Jacqueline’ and ‘Song of the Birds’, while Sheku’s passion for Bob Marley gave him the enthusiasm to write his very own arrangement of ‘No Woman, No Cry’. Sheku’s friends and fellow musicians are also a source of inspiration for the album, including BBC Young Musician 2000 winner Guy Johnston, who joins him for ‘Sardana’.

‘The Swan’ from The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns is one of the world’s best-loved cello melodies, so Sheku recorded this piece in a brand new version for 12 cellos and harp, with the aim of inspiring other young people to take up the cello and explore classical music.

The album also includes Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1 – the piece which propelled Sheku to fame as he became the first black winner of BBC Young Musician in the competition’s 38-year history. It was recorded during two concerts in Birmingham and Sheku’s hometown of Nottingham with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the baton of their Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

Inspiration – Tracklisting:

Evening of Roses (Erev Shel Shoshanim)
Yosef Hadar, trans. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, arr. Tom Hodge
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), CBSO Cellos

The Swan (Le Cygne)
C. Saint-Saëns, arr. Tom Hodge
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), CBSO Cellos

Song of the Birds (El cant dels ocells)
Trad, arr. Pablo Casals
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), CBSO Cellos

Nocturne – The Gadfly, Suite op. 97a
Dmitri Shostakovich, arr. Levon Atovmyan
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Conductor), CBSO

Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in Eb Major, Opus 107
I. Allegretto
II. Moderato
III. Cadenza – Attacca
IV. Allegro con moto
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Conductor), CBSO

Jacqueline’s Tears (Les Larmes de Jacqueline), Op. 76, no. 2
Jacques Offenbach, arr. Thomas Mifune Werner
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Conductor), CBSO

Pablo Casals
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), Guy Johnston (Cello), CBSO Cellos

No Woman, No Cry
Bob Marley, arr. Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello)

Leonard Cohen, arr. Tom Hodge
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello), Didier Osindero (Violin), Alinka Rowe (Viola), Yong Jun Lee (Cello)

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