The coming of Sheku Kanneh-Mason


THROW your rosy-tinted mind back to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, at Windsor Chapel. Their invited soloist was cello star Sheku Kanneh-Mason, himself wooing the millions watching with Shubert’s ‘Ava Maria’ arr. Hazell, played under a bower (organic, no doubt).

On Tuesday this week, Sheku was shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society’s awards. Now fans of the Irish Chamber Orchestra have the privilege of attending concerts with this Nottingham cellist as star. This BBC Young Musician of 2016 will play at University Concert Hall, Limerick on Wednesday October 23 at 8pm and on Thursday 24 in St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda.

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October 24, 8pm at University Concert Hall.

The Orchestra’s Charlotte Eglington set  context for the night of music ahead: “Sheku has selected Saint-Saëns’ much loved ‘Cello Concerto No. 1’, one of the great and liveliest showcases for cello.  A bold work, it demonstrates the broad range, deeper bass and dynamic projection of the cello – its simple charm propels the listener along.”

Three other composers are in the mix, grand masters and a contemporary writer, reflecting the ICO’s mission to pioneer new commissions and Ireland based composers. Charlotte elaborates: “The Orchestra performs Beethoven’s ‘Egmont Overture’, that brims with explosive power as it goes through trials, tribulations, tragedy and triumph in eight short minutes.

“Bizet’s ‘Symphony in C major’ written at 17, was undiscovered for 80 years and is full of youthful vitality, originality and melodic charm.”

Closer to home, “Deirdre McKay’s ‘Meltwater’ demonstrates the enduring influence that the natural world, its patterns and weathers, has on her work.”

 It is evident to all that Sheku Kanneh-Mason really feels his music and communicates beautifully with his audiences. He often works with his half-dozen siblings who are each superb musicians. Hungarian conductor Gábor Káli holds the baton for this two-stop tour, with Limerick audiences lucky to be close to our concert hall for this exceptional treat.

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