Classical music stars to perform concerts at Shropshire school

A Shropshire school will be welcoming two of classical music’s most exciting young stars next week.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Photo: Jake Turney
Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Photo: Jake Turney

Wrekin College is welcoming cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his sister, pianist Isata, who will stage a series of concerts.

Best known for his stunning performance at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, Sheku was the first Black BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 17.

The siblings will be performing a series of concerts on Tuesday for the year group bubbles at the college in Wellington, together with hosting a workshop for some of the school’s upper sixth musicians.

Director of music Simon Platford said they were absolutely delighted to have received the request from Sheku and Isata to perform at Wrekin as part of a warm-up for their European tour in April and May.

Isata was unveiled as one of the stars of the school’s Sounds of the Future series which was organised to celebrate Wrekin’s new music school which opened in January last year.

Isata Kanneh-Mason. Photo: Robin Clewley

Unfortunately, it was put on hold at the start of the pandemic.

Now the school is looking to relaunch the ambitious programme of performances with staff thrilled that the Kanneh-Masons, two of six talented siblings who performed at The Royal Variety Performance, will be part of the return to live productions.

Mr Platford said all the stops had been pulled out to ensure every child who wanted to be a part of this amazing opportunity could do so in a Covid-secure setting. But because of restrictions, it cannot be open to members of the public.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming two of the most exciting talents in classical music to perform here at Wrekin,” said Mr Platford.

"They are without a doubt two people who are changing the face of classical music worldwide.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his sister Isata. Photo:Jake Turney

“For the children to be able to see them play live, after a year in which the arts and musical performances were particularly adversely affected by the pandemic, will be such a positive and inspiring experience.

“The music school was a significant investment for Wrekin in the hope of encouraging children to play a musical instrument and also see the possibilities of where music might take them and how much there is to be gained from performing together as a group.

"This event next week I have no doubt will inspire our pupils to aim high in all that they do but also to engage with classical music in an accessible way.”

Sheku and Isata will be travelling for work and the rooms will be ventilated and cleaned between performances in strict year group bubbles.

Last year, Sheku made history by becoming the first cellist to reach the top 10 in the UK album chart, in a landmark moment for classical and pop music.

Wrekin College

The young cellist’s widespread appeal, coined as ‘the Sheku effect’, is even inspiring a whole new generation of young string instrumentalists.

Wrekin offers scholarships for talented musicians, with strings highlighted among the instruments the music department is keen to encourage.

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