Nottingham

Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Cello star calls MBE appointment 'amazing'

Sheku Kanneh-Mason Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sheku Kanneh-Mason has been awarded the MBE for services to music

A young musician who played at the Duke of Sussex's wedding said it was "amazing" to be appointed an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 20, became the first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016.

Receiving the news, the Nottingham cellist paid tribute to his parents for their support.

He said he would continue working with organisations to show the benefits of access to music for young people.

"I was so lucky to have the dedicated support of my parents in giving me the opportunity to have specialist music lessons from a young child," he said.

"I also had incredible support from the state schools I attended in Nottingham where music was promoted for its value in developing listening skills, teamwork, self-expression and hard work."

Becoming an MBE caps a rapid rise to prominence for Mr Kanneh-Mason, whose debut album Inspiration became one of the biggest-selling classical music albums in 2018.

He became the youngest cellist ever to reach the Official UK Album Chart Top 20 last year and sales received a boost following his performance at the royal wedding.

Mr Kanneh-Mason, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, has previously spoken out about funding cuts in state schools for music lessons.

He donated £3,000 to his old school - matched by another £3,000 from his record label Decca - to fund music tuition for 10 pupils.

"The love and enjoyment for this great art is something that should be available to everyone, regardless of background," he added.

"I am committed to continuing my work with organisations such as London Music Masters and Future Talent to reinforce the benefits of access to music."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The cellist played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding last year

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