Cayman Arts Festival is excited to present another evening of fabulous entertainment to its audience. It will be hosting a cello and piano concert featuring the winner of 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. He will be accompanied on the piano by his sister, Isata.
“This is a concert that cannot be missed as the audience will witness the birth of a star duo,” says Marius Gaina, executive director of the Cayman Arts Festival
The career of 18-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason has so far gone straight as an arrow. Starting the cello at six, he passed Grade 8 at nine with the highest marks in Britain. After starring with his siblings on “Britain’s Got Talent,” he went on to become BBC Young Musician of the Year at 16 with a blistering account of Shostakovich’s first cello concerto.
Sheku comes from an incredibly musical family in which all six of his siblings (he is the third child of seven) play instruments to a phenomenally high standard – yet neither parent is a musician. Simon Cowell called them “the most talented family in the world” during a performance on TV’s “Britain’s Got Talent.” Every spare penny goes into the children’s musical education, from lessons, buying sheet music and instruments, to re-hairing bows and re-tuning pianos. Sheku and his family have also been featured in a BBC Four documentary “Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of a Maestro.”
Sheku regularly performs with Chineke!, Europe’s first BME (black and minority ethnic) orchestra, and has appeared as a concerto soloist with them at the Royal Festival Hall. “It was one of the highlights of my life,” he says. “I would love to inspire more diversity in young people taking up classical music – it would be a really wonderful thing if I could be a role model in that way.”
Sheku is also passionate about building better opportunities for young people of any background to learn music at school and is the Junior Ambassador for the music education charity London Music Masters. “You might never want to go on to become a musician, but it’s still so important. I’d love to help bring more music to schools.”
Isata Kanneh-Mason is 21 years old and is an undergraduate at The Royal Academy of Music, studying piano with Carole Presland, having been awarded the prestigious Sir Elton John Scholarship.
Isata was in the Piano Category Final of The BBC Young Musician 2014, winning The Walter Todds Bursary for the most promising musician before the Grand Final. She has won The Royal Academy Iris Dyer Piano Prize four times and won the Mrs Claude Beddington Prize for outstanding recital results in her second year as an undergraduate at The Royal Academy.
Isata held the Elsa and Leonard Cross Scholarship at The Royal Academy of Music, Junior Department, studying piano with Patsy Toh. She won two ABRSM Gold Awards at age 10 and 11 for the highest marks in the U.K. for grades 7 and 8 Piano.
“From its inception in 2004, Cayman Arts Festival has brought overseas artists to perform on island and these artists have also held well attended workshops in public and private schools. We are delighted to be able to continue to offer amazing performances and artist-led workshops and we strongly believe that Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason have a huge potential to motivate and entertain our students,” says Gaina.
The concert will include the following pieces: Cassado’s Suite for Solo Cello, Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in G minor and Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D minor.
The event will be held on Saturday at the Agape Family Worship Centre on Fairbanks Road at 5 p.m. Tickets are US$35 for adults and US$10 for students. Also available is a family package at US$65 for 2 adults and 2 students. Tickets can be bought online at caymanartsfestival.com. For info, email [email protected] or call Marius Gaina at 922-5550.