31 May 2024

Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s new album, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto is out now on Decca Classics. He joins his friends and fellow BBC Young Musician competition finalists, the violinist Nicola Benedetti and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor alongside the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. This marks the first time the work has been released on the label. The album also includes recordings of Beethoven’s folk songs with bass-baritone Gerald Finley.

Of their 2023 performance of the work in the UK, The Sunday Times writes, “Far from another battle royal, the three former Young Musician finalists come together in a mutual celebration of their three instruments,” and they were “working in harmony without losing any of their distinct personalities. Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason was the lyrical dreamer, violinist Nicola Benedetti was the lively energizer, and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor acted as a quicksilver mediator between the two. Their approach was virtuosic, sympathetic, and full of character.”

Reflecting on this collaboration, Sheku Kanneh-Mason says: “It was an absolute joy and privilege to make music for the first time with two musicians I grew up admiring. I first heard them both on television in the finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, and like many participants and winners in that competition, they became massive inspirations to me. I saw Nicola Benedetti perform live for the first time when I was a child when she came to play a Mozart violin concerto in Nottingham, and that was a very memorable experience. Of course I knew her playing before and since via the many recordings she has made. Likewise with Benjamin, I was obsessed with his Chopin, Liszt and Ravel album when that came out several years ago, and have had the pleasure of seeing him perform live many times. So it really was such a special moment for me to perform and record the Beethoven Triple concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra (an orchestra with whom I have collaborated several times before) and their principal conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

“It’s a piece full of so much spirit, playfulness and life, and I love the combination of intimate chamber music-like conversations between the 3 soloists, and the colourful and powerful sound of the orchestra.”

Sheku Kanneh-Mason was recently declared by Bachtrack as ‘the most in-demand cellist in the world’. Highlights for him this year include four consecutive concerto performances in early May with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center. This leads on to a major European recital tour with his pianist sister Isata before he returns to the US for performances with Detroit Symphony and San Francisco Symphony orchestras.  He is the newly appointed patron of music charity Music Masters whom he has supported over the last seven years, and ambassador to charities Future Talent and JDRF.  This is his fifth recording for Decca Classics, his 2020 recording Elgar reaching No.8 in the Official UK Album Chart, making him the first cellist in the history of the UK Charts to break into the Top 10. Sheku has accumulated over 215 million global streams.