Seventeen-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason wins BBC Young Musician 2016

He was electric. There was something about the way he drew the audience in. A sincere and moving performance.Dobrinka Tabakova, Chair, BBC Young Musician 2016 Judges
Date: 16.05.2016     Last updated: 16.05.2016 at 09.29
Seventeen-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, from Nottingham, has been named the Winner of BBC Young Musician 2016.

The Final of BBC Young Musician 2016 took place yesterday, Sunday 15 May, at the Barbican, London. It was broadcast at 7pm on BBC Four, presented by Clemency Burton-Hill, Alison Balsom and Josie D’Arby, and also on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm, presented by Sarah Walker and including commentary from violinist Jennifer Pike (winner of BBC Young Musician in 2002).

The 2016 BBC Young Musician Finalists were: French Horn player Ben Goldscheider, saxophonist Jess Gillam and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

The finalists performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth in front of a live audience, and were judged by a distinguished panel of experts – saxophonist Amy Dickson, French Horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill, cellist Jamie Walton, and Director of the BBC Proms, David Pickard. The panel of judges was chaired by Dobrinka Tabakova, who sat across all five category finals and the semi-final.

Sheku performed Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no.1.

Of winning BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku said: "It's a wonderful feeling. I'm so grateful for all the support from my family, the Junior Royal Academy of Music, my teacher Ben Davies and Chineke!, who have helped me on this extraordinary journey."

Dobrinka Tabakova, Chair of the Judges, said: "He was electric. There was something about the way he drew the audience in. A sincere and moving performance. In today's society, which seems to be swept by mediocrity, he shows how hard work, dedication and talent can lift you out."

Seventeen-year-old Sheku attends Trinity Catholic Comprehensive School in Nottingham. He holds the ABRSM Junior Scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music, where he studies cello with Ben Davies. Sheku plays in the Chineke! Orchestra, as well as the JRAM Symphony Orchestra. He plays chamber music with the Kanneh-Mason Piano Trio and the Ash String Trio.

Now in its 38th year, BBC Young Musician is a part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to supporting and providing a platform for new and emerging talent. Since its first outing in 1978, the competition has established an enviable reputation for finding outstanding new talent. Seventeen-year-old pianist Martin James Bartlett was awarded the title BBC Young Musician 2014 and took his place alongside a star-studded list of former BBC Young Musician winners and finalists that includes Thomas Adès, Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Nicholas Daniel, Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough, Emma Johnson, Freddy Kempf, Jennifer Pike and Paul Watkins.

Following its successful launch in 2014, the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award returned in 2016, running alongside the established classical music format. The final was broadcast on BBC Four on Friday 13 May.

BBC Young Musician is managed and produced by BBC Studios / BBC Cymru Wales.