Sheku Kanneh-Mason: The 17-year-old cellist from Mapperley Park was crowned BBC Young Musician 2016 in May.

The Nottingham teenager who became BBC Young Musician 2016 will return to the city to perform with the city’s Youth Orchestra at the Albert Hall on March 19.

Sheku Kennah-Mason, 17, from Mapperley Park attends Trinity Catholic School.

He won the award at the competition’s grand final on May 15, held at the Barbican Centre in London.

His winning performance was Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 1 with The BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Speaking on winning the competition last year, Sheku said: “When my name was announced it was an amazing feeling. I could not believe it really. I had worked so hard and will never forget the experience.”

Sheku comes from a very musical family.

All six of his siblings play either stringed instruments or pianos with his sister, Isata, and brother, Braimah both attending the Royal Academy of Music full time.

“I could not believe it really. I had worked so hard and will never forget the experience.”

Sheku started by playing violin aged six but after just two weeks he switched over the cello.

He said: “I went to a local string concert called ‘Stringwise for young children’ and I was drawn to the sound of the cello section, so I asked my mum if I could learn that instrument.”

The teenage prodigy admits that before asking his mum to learn the cello, he did not even know what it was.

Since becoming the Young Musician, he has had some big opportunities to perform and was recently given a 400-year-old cello from a private collector on permanent loan.

Sheku has performed across the world with some of the best orchestras on show today.
Despite this, he regards the opportunity to perform with Nottingham Youth Orchestra as a ‘real privilege’.

He said: “This is my home city and I am a real supporter of music in people of my age and younger.”

“This is my home city and I am a real supporter of music in people of my age and younger.”

The young cellist recalls performing with the orchestra once before.

“I had once played some of the Elgar Cello Concerto with the orchestra on one of their residential trips which was really good.”

Nottingham Youth Orchestra: Sheku will front the orchestra at the performance at the Albert Hall on March 19.
Nottingham Youth Orchestra: Sheku will front the orchestra at the Albert Hall on March 19.

Leading the orchestra will be former Scottish Chamber Orchestra conductor Christopher George.

The long-time conductor possesses a wealth of experience and was a big attraction for Sheku.

However, he feels that regardless of the conductor, Sheku could not say no to the opportunity.

Sheku said: “I really wanted to play with the orchestra but playing with Christopher George is definitely a big bonus!”

Rehearsals for the performance are said to be beginning soon and Sheku is looking forward to working with the orchestra.

“We have a couple of rehearsals booked soon and I am sure they will go very well. The orchestra is of a very high standard.”

“I am sure they will go very well. The orchestra is of a very high standard.”

The orchestra is expected to be performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto no. 1 in C which Sheku feels will be a favourite for its lightness and fun nature.

Also being a classical musician, he feels it is a typically classical piece.

Sheku hopes to see more classical talents to emerge out of Nottingham as his career develops.

He said: “There have been many prodigies to come out of the Nottingham classical scene in the past and so I am confident that this will continue.”

To watch Sheku’s BBC Young Musician 2016 award winning performance, click here.