Jonathon Heyward and Sheku Kanneh-Mason have been honoured with nominations for the 2020 RPS Awards. Heyward is on the shortlist for Conductor of the Year, and cellist Kanneh-Mason, who is managed in association with Enticott Music Management, is nominated for Young Artist of the Year. The winners of this prestigious honour will be announced on 18 November at the 2020 RPS Awards Digital Brodacast, filmed at London’s Wigmore Hall and presented by BBC Radio 3’s Georgia Mann. On 23 November, at 19:30, BBC Radio 3 will present a musical celebration of the RPS Award winners.

Hailed by Sir Mark Elder as “a bright rising star of the conducting world,” Jonathon Heyward is one of the most exciting young conductors on the international scene. Winner of the 2015 Besançon International Conducting Competition, Jonathon is Chief Conductor Designate of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, a position that commences in January 2021. Recent and forthcoming highlights include conducting the 200th birthday concert for Hallé Orchestra’s founder, Sir Charles Hallé, debuts with the London, BBC, Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit and Oregon symphonies; BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Hallé, Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Osaka Symphony, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Flanders Symphony, South Netherlands Philharmonic and the Het Gelders Orkest; and the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s new opera, Wake, with the Birmingham Opera Company.

Originally trained as a cellist and chamber musician, Jonathon commenced his conducting studies at the Boston Conservatory with Andrew Altenbach. He went on to take up the position of Assistant Conductor for both their opera department and the Boston Opera Collaborative, where he worked on such productions as La bohèmeThe Magic Flute, and The Rape of Lucretia. In 2013, Jonathon became the youngest ever semi-finalist at the Blue Danube International Opera Conducting Competition at the age of 21, and, soon after, was appointed Associate Director of the Hampstead Garden Opera Company in London. In 2016, he completed his postgraduate studies in conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2020, was a recipient of The Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award.

The winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, Sheku Kanneh-Mason is already in great demand from major orchestras and concert halls worldwide. Sheku has made debuts with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, the Atlanta Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony orchestras. Forthcoming highlights include performances with the City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, and Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras.

Recent recital performances include Wigmore Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, Lucerne Festival, Festival de Saint-Denis, Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris, Teatro della Pergola Florence, and a critically acclaimed tour of North America that took in Los Angeles, Berkeley, St Paul, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Sheku’s recital debut at Carnegie Hall New York. Upcoming recital debuts include London’s Barbican Hall, L’Auditori Barcelona, Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional, and the chamber hall of the Berlin Philharmonie.

He is currently a full-time ABRSM Scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Hannah Roberts. Sheku was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List. He plays an Antonius and Hieronymus Amati cello c.1610, kindly on loan from a private collection.

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