Award-winning British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has announced his new album Elgar will be released on 10 January 2020. Elgar is a brand new album of works anchored around Elgar’s Cello Concerto, arguably the best-known work in the classical canon written for solo cello, which was first performed 100 years ago on 27 October 1919. Special projections of Sheku will be visible near major international landmarks in London, New York, Sydney, Beijing and Berlin to coincide with the announcement of his new album.
Sheku recorded Elgar’s Cello Concerto at Abbey Road Studios (famously opened by Elgar himself in 1931) with the internationally-renowned London Symphony Orchestra and its celebrated Music Director, conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
Described by The Times as, “The world’s new favourite cellist”, and by TIME magazine as a “champion of classical music”, Sheku was inspired to learn the cello after hearing Elgar’s Cello Concerto when he was aged eight or nine. His family owned a CD of the legendary 1965 recording by Jacqueline du Pré which Sheku said “directly connected with [his] emotions”. Now aged 20, he has performed the piece many times with orchestras around the world – including a televised BBC Prom at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August, where he was praised for his “poised” (Telegraph) and “introspective” (Financial Times) performance.
For his latest album Sheku uses Elgar’s iconic work as a lens through which to explore the wider musical landscape of pre-and post-war Europe. New arrangements of Elgar’s powerful and ubiquitously British ‘Nimrod’ from his Enigma Variations, and ‘Romance In D Minor’ are also featured on his new album. Sheku recorded many of the chamber works alongside his cello friends and colleagues, as well as his brother Braimah Kanneh-Mason who plays violin on Bloch’s ‘Prayer’.
Sheku performed at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May 2018 which was watched across the world by 3 billion people. He continues to perform with many of the world’s leading orchestras and will tour Europe and the US with his sister Isata Kanneh-Mason in 2019/2020.
After winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016 Sheku signed to Decca Classics in 2017 and released his Classical BRIT award-winning debut album, Inspiration, in January 2018. It peaked at No. 11 in the Official UK Album Chart and reached the Top 20 Billboard charts in the US, as well as topping classical charts in the UK and Australia. To date Inspiration has accumulated over 60 million streams and sold over 120,000 copies worldwide, earning him a BRIT Certified Breakthrough Award.
Sheku is still an undergraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His talent and passion have led him to be named one of TIME Magazine’s Next Generation Leaders, evidence of his ability to cross boundaries and draw new audiences into the world of classical music.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s new album Elgar will be released on 10 January 2020. Scroll down to read the full tracklisting and pre-order the album here.
The full tracklisting for Elgar is:
1. Trad. – ‘Blow The Wind Southerly’*
2. Elgar – ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations*
3. Elgar – ‘Cello Concerto In E Minor’
4. Elgar – ‘Romance In D minor’*
5. Bridge – ‘Spring Song’*
6. Trad. – ‘Scarborough Fair’* (with Plinio Fernandes)
7. Bloch – ‘Prélude’
8. Bloch – ‘Prayer’ (with Braimah Kanneh-Mason)
9. Fauré – ‘Élégie In C Minor’*
10. Klengel – ‘Hymnus For 12 Cellos’
*New arrangement by Simon Parkin for this recording