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Teenage cellist steals the show at the royal wedding

‘It’s a day I will remember for the rest of my life’

Olivia Petter
Sunday 20 May 2018 16:10 BST
Royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason speaks about experience of performing at ceremony

If music be the food of love, the royal wedding was the ultimate feast, with musical splendour playing a starring role in the day’s proceedings.

However, amidst a series of stellar choral performances, it was the solo act of a 19-year-old cellist that garnered the most attention.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason wowed guests in St George’s Chapel in Windsor with his short set that took place while the royal couple signed the register.

The teenage musician is from Nottingham and was crowned BBC’s Young Musician of the Year in 2016, making him the first black winner of the prestigious competition.

Kanneh-Mason announced that he would be performing at the royal wedding in a tweet in April, revealing that the Duchess of Sussex had phoned him herself to personally invite him along.

“I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony and of course I immediately said yes!!!” he wrote.

“What a privilege. I can’t wait!”

The newlyweds asked him to play after hearing him perform in June at an event for the Halo Foundation in London.

The young cellist comes from a family of musicians and performed three songs as chosen by the royal couple, including Franz Schubert's 'Ave Maria', Maria Theresia von Paradis' 'Sicilienne' and Gabriel Fauré's 'Après un rêve'.

He began taking cello lessons at the age of six and subsequently enrolled in a junior program at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he is currently studying full-time.

Speaking to Sky News following his performance, he revealed he wasn’t at all nervous about playing at such a high-profile event and was ‘“just excited to play”.

He added that the three songs he played are ones that he loves to listen to and perform, naming 'Après un rêve' as one of his favourites.

“It was such an awesome moment,” he wrote in a tweet after the ceremony, “just really incredible to perform for Prince Harry and Meghan at their wedding!

“The atmosphere was amazing and I’m proud to have played a small part in the celebrations.

"It’s a day I will remember for the rest of my life”.

Unsurprisingly, Kanneh-Mason’s passionate performance went down very well on the day itself, earning him a flurry of praise on social media, with many users referring to him as a “sensation”.

“And just when you thought the stars had left the building, Sheku Kanneh-Mason comes in and shuts it down. #royalwedding,” wrote one person on Twitter.

Just watching the actual royal wedding (not highlights) now and this cellist after the ceremony is incredible,” added another, “I didn't know cellos could do that.”

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