“It’s an understatement to say that Sheku Kanneh-Mason has had a busy few months. In May, the 17-year-old cellist was crowned BBC Young Musician,” writes Tom Service in Thursday’s (9/1) Guardian (London, U.K.). “Only a few days later, he was back at school, revising for his summer exams … while also preparing for his Royal Festival Hall concerto debut…. On 4 September, he’s playing Haydn’s C major concerto with the Chineke! Orchestra, Chi-chi Nwanoku’s groundbreaking ensemble of black and minority ethnic musicians [at] the Southbank Centre…. Sheku’s … parents have had to give everything to their children’s musical educations … as they progressed with incredible speed through the grade system of musical exams, and on to junior and senior conservatoires in London.” Says Kanneh-Mason, “Classical music is not elitist. The music itself is accessible to everyone. The real problem is the fact that it’s expensive and there is so little help from councils and the government…. Within the education system, music is not valued enough for what it can do…. If you have the focus to do two hours’ practice a day, you’re going to have the focus to study for your exams. It’s just as simple as that.”

Posted September 7, 2016