Sheku Kanneh-Mason 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, the first Black musician to take the title. He has released two chart-topping albums on the Decca Classics label, Inspiration in 2018 and Elgar in 2020. The latter reached No. 8 in the overall UK Official Album Chart, making Sheku the first cellist in history to reach the UK Top 10.
Sheku has made debuts with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony orchestras. Forthcoming highlights include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Barcelona Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, and London Philharmonic orchestras, and on tour with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
In recital, Sheku has performed at illustrious venues and festivals around the world, including Wigmore Hall London, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, and Aldeburgh Festivals, Zurich Tonhalle, Lucerne Festival, Festival de Saint-Denis, Verbier Festival, Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris, Teatro della Pergola Florence, L’Auditori Barcelona, the Auditorio Nacional Madrid, and Carnegie Hall New York. Current and future seasons include appearances at the Barbican Hall London, Berliner Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Suntory Hall Tokyo, and tours of North America, Italy, South Korea and China.
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.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020, Sheku and his siblings performed in twice-weekly livestreams from their family home in Nottingham to audiences of hundreds of thousands around the globe. He has performed at the BAFTA awards ceremony twice in 2017 and 2018, is the winner of Best Classical Artist at the Global Awards in 2020 and 2021 (the latter as part of the Kanneh-Mason family), and received the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists’ Award.
Sheku continues his studies with Hannah Roberts at the Royal Academy of Music in London as a Bicentenary Fellow. He began learning the cello at the age of six with Sarah Huson-Whyte and then Ben Davies at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. He has received masterclass tuition from Guy Johnston, Ralph Kirshbaum, Robert Max, Alexander Baillie, Steven Doane, Rafael Wallfisch, Jo Cole, Melissa Phelps, Julian Lloyd Webber, Frans Helmerson and Miklos Perenyi.
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.