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ABRSM scholar becomes BBC Young Musician 2016

3 years ago


Many congratulations to Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cellist and ABRSM Junior scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, whose performance of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 led to him being named the BBC Young Musician 2016 this month!

Saxophonist Jess Gillam, a fellow finalist, was also an ABRSM Junior scholar and will be returning to the Royal Northern College of Music in September with a second ABRSM scholarship.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, BBC Young Musician 2016

The three finalists (Sheku, Jess and French Horn player Ben Goldscheider) performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in front of a live audience, and were judged by a distinguished panel of experts – saxophonist Amy Dickson, French Horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill, cellist Jamie Walton, and Director of the BBC Proms, David Pickard. The judging panel was chaired by composer Dobrinka Tabakova, who presided over all five category finals and the semi-final.

Jess Gillam, BBC Young Musician 2016 finalist

The culmination of an 'extraordinary journey'

Sheku said: 'It's a wonderful feeling. I'm so grateful for all the support from my family, the Junior Royal Academy of Music, my teacher Ben Davies, Chineke! [and all those] that have helped me on this extraordinary journey.'

Dobrinka Tabakova commented: 'He was electric. There was something about the way he drew the audience in. A sincere and moving performance. In today's society, which seems to be swept by mediocrity, he shows how hard work, dedication and talent can lift you out.'

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, BBC Young Musican 2016 winner

17-year-old Sheku attends Trinity Catholic Comprehensive School in Nottingham and holds the ABRSM Junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studies cello with Ben Davies. Sheku plays in the Chineke! and JRAM Symphony orchestras and performs chamber music with the Kanneh-Mason Piano Trio and the Ash String Trio.

Sheku’s brother and Royal Academy of Music Junior Academy student, Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, is also a talented musician and will appear soon on our Piano Exam Pieces 2017 & 2018, Grade 1 recordings.

About the competition

Now in its 38th year, BBC Young Musician forms part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to supporting and providing a platform for new and emerging talent. Since the inaugural event in 1978, the competition has established an enviable reputation for finding outstanding new talent.

The star-studded list of former BBC Young Musician winners and finalists includes Thomas Adès, Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Nicholas Daniel, Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough, Emma Johnson, Freddy Kempf, Jennifer Pike and Paul Watkins.

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