British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who shot to international stardom after performing at the royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in 2018, will make his Australian debut at next year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Photo © Lars Borges
“I’m very excited to visit Australia for the first time,” Kanneh-Mason told Limelight. “Playing great music with wonderful musicians is what I’m looking forward to most.”
Kanneh-Mason, who took out the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2016, released his first full-length album, Inspirations, on the Decca label in January last year. He was subsequently named the UK’s youngest cellist to break into the Official Albums Chart Top 20 with Inspirations, one of a string of firsts the cellist has notched up. Kanneh-Mason was recently cited as one of the drivers of young people seeking out classical music on streaming services in the UK. The cellist comes from a musical family, performing regularly with his siblings – his sister Isata Kanneh–Mason has just released an album of Clara Schumann’s piano music on Decca.
Kanneh-Mason is one of six artists announced for the Festival’s 30th anniversary year, pianist Kathryn Stott’s third as Artistic Director. British soprano Carolyn Sampson and Austrian hornist Radovan Vlatković will join the AFCM’s Winterschool Director, Czech violinist Pavel Fischer, Australian oboist Diana Doherty and Festival mainstay, the Goldner String Quartet in Townsville next year, while BBC presenter Petroc Trelawny will be the Festival Concert Host.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to program what will be a special anniversary year for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music,” Stott told Limelight. “How wonderful to celebrate 30 years of glorious music making in Townsville, acknowledge the 25th anniversary of the Goldner String Quartet and let’s not forget Beethoven’s 250th. An amazing array of artists will be coming and I’ve some real musical treats in store. Not to be missed!”
The 2020 AFCM is set to feature 16 international artists and 29 Australian artists, with the full line-up set to be announced in February 2020.
The Australian Festival of Chamber Music takes place at venues around Townsville from July 31 to August 9, 2020